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The Battalion

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Cross country captures fourth at Invitational, Jochen finishes first

Karis Jochen edged out Abilene Christian’s Alexandria Hackett to capture first place at the Texas A&M Invitational Saturday morning. Jochen’s strong performance, along with a solid showing from the women’s and men’s teams, gave Texas A&M 4th place finishes in both divisions.  

Jochen, who started and finished strong, was hungry for victory against ACU’s Hackett. Jochen ran in the top pack until she broke away to lead on her own. It was not until the final straight away until Hackett closed in on and passed her. The Aggie runner didn’t allow her lead to last long as she outkicked Hackett, clinching the win.

“The first thing that came through my mind when she passed is I got all these Texas A&M people around me and where was the warning?” said Jochen. “I have so many teammates, friends, family, and coaches here that have supported me. Whenever she passed me, I just wanted to do it for them.”

The top finisher on the Texas A&M men’s team was Austin Wells. He deviated from the team’s plan of running together in a pack and, in turn, blazed through the Dale Watts Cross Country course in 23:42.9.

“The plan was to be a little more conservative,” Wells said. “We wanted to move up together and we executed that pretty well but things happen in cross country. I think it was a pretty good race and I definitely think I can improve on it. It is a good starting point on the season.”

Cameron Villarreal, who won Men’s Aggie Opener three weeks ago, came in fifth for the Aggies. Wells said some of the runners were sick this past week, including Villarreal, who still had an impressive performance.

Following the lead of Wells, who finished sixth overall was his teammate Alex Riba (20th, 24:17.4). They were followed by Juan Uribe (24th, 24:24.7), Christian Farris (33rd, 24:37.0), Cameron Villarreal (37th, 24:40.5), Aaron Murray (44th, 24:51.2) and Julian Castellano (48th, 24:54.0).

Karis Jochen led the women’s team and the entire field of 147 clinching the win in 20:04.9. She was followed by teammates Arin Rice (17th, 21:081), Kelsey Persyn (33rd, 21:40.0), Haley Deakins (35th, 21:41.9), Katie Pia (36th, 21:42.0), Kaitlin Tanner (38th, 21:43.9), and Hannah Campbell (46th, 21:53.8).

Assistant coach Wendel McRaven said the team learned a lot from the race and needs to improve before next week’s race at Notre Dame.

“It’s a good really indicator of where we stack up right now,” McRaven said. “We are seeing a majority of our regional teams and it gives us a chance to run against a lot of teams in our region. It’s early in the season, they are going to get better and we are going to get better. I am pleased but not satisfied.”

The University of Texas won both men’s and women’s titles at the Texas A&M Invitational. Texas led the men’s field, scoring 37 points while the runner up was North Texas with 72 points. For women, Texas scored 87 points and Missouri placed second with 92 points.

Texas A&M Men’s team, with 116 points, was within a margin of 10 points behind third place Missouri and 10 points ahead of fifth place Stephen F. Austin.

For women, Texas A&M placed 12 points behind Abilene Christian with 119. There was a small break of 16 points to fifth place Stephen F. Austin with 135. 
As both teams celebrate individual and team performances, they prepare for the Notre Dame Invitational Friday Oct. 2nd.

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