The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Photo by Courtesy of Aiden Shertzer/Texas A&M Athletics

At the 2021 NCAA South Central Regional meet, the Texas A&M men’s and women’s cross country teams both recorded 6th place finishes. 

Texas A&M cross country seniors Julia Black and Abbey Santoro earned U.S. Track & Field South Central All-Region Honors after their performances at the NCAA South Regional track meet.

At the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course, Black and Santoro led the way for the women’s team to finish in sixth. On the men’s side, junior Eric Casarez outpaced his teammates and helped the men’s team earn a sixth-place finish as well. ​​

In the 6K, Black finished in 14th after clocking in at a time of 21:13.4, while Santoro earned a time of 21:33.0, good enough to finish in 23rd. This marked career-best times for both Black and Santoro at the NCAA regional meet. Head cross country coach Wendel McRaven said he was disappointed in a sixth place team finish, but was impressed by both Black and Santoro’s year-long performance. 

“From a team perspective, we’re disappointed to finish sixth place,” McRaven told “We think we are a better team than that. Individually, Julia [Black] made a huge step to earn her first-ever All-Regional honors and to miss nationals by four seconds. It was a heck of a run for her. All year she has provided upperclassmen leadership, and I think she has been a great example for the rest of the young girls on the team, as well as Abbey [Santoro], who earned her first All-Region honors.”

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Other notable performances came from junior Grace Plain and the freshman duo of Gemma Goddard and Maddie Livingston. Plain clocked in a time of 22:14.3 and finished in 51st; Goddard clocked in a time of 22:17.2 and finished in 54th; and Livingston clocked in a time of 22:22.7 and finished in 57th to round out the top five for the Aggies. 

The women’s team finished the day with a total of 182 points. 

Along with Casarez, junior Juan Arcila and senior Gavin Hoffpauir also had strong performances in the men’s 10K and placed in the top 50 to help the maroon and white secure a sixth-place finish. 

​​”The men’s team had a rough day out there,” McRaven told 12th Man. “Eric [Casarez] had a rough meet. He’s struggled the last couple of races and we’ll get that figured out moving forward. Ideally where we want to be and need to be is in the mix for the top two spots in the region. That’s where we expect to be.”

Casarez finished the day with a time of 31:58.7, earning the 32nd spot. Arcila crossed the finish line at a time of 31:58.7, finishing in 47th place, and Hoffpauir clocked in at a time of 32:36.5, finishing in 50th place.

To round out the top five for the Aggies, sophomore Brady Grant placed in 58th, finishing with a time of 32:55.0, and freshman Joseph Benn finished in 65th place with a time of 33:00.5.

The men’s team finished the day with 237 points.

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