FAYETTEVILLE (November 9, 2012) -- The Baylor cross country team wrapped up the 2012 season with the women placing seventh and the men coming in 14th at the NCAA South Central Regional at Agri Park on Friday.
"It was pretty tough conditions today with the heat, wind and dust," head coach Todd Harbour said. "Overall, we didn’t finish where we wanted to be and where we are used to being. We are working really hard to get back to the place that we have been, so we have just a little more work to do.”
The Baylor women entered the meet ranked eighth in the region, and with a solid race from its top-five runners moved up one spot. Sophomore Mariah Kelly led the charge for the Lady Bears, finishing just one place shy of all-region honors in 26th. Kelly turned in a time of 21:53.6 over the six-kilometer course.
“Mariah just missed all-region by one, so she was disappointed,” Harbour said. “Everybody else ran well. I felt like we could have been a little bit higher, but overall it wasn’t a bad day.”
Fellow sophomore Rachel Johnson was in seventh place at the halfway point, but faltered over the race’s final stretch to finish 29th with a time of 22:03.7.
“Rachel went for it,” Harbour said. “She gave an unbelievable effort. At the five-kilometer mark she was in great shape and then she just had a really tough time the last 1,000 meters. I felt terrible for her, because she felt like she had a pretty good shot getting into nationals.”
Bree Schrader was the next BU runner across the finish line in a time of 22:27.2 to place 44th.
Senior Leah Frazier, who got knocked down during the event, recovered to turn in a time of 23:02.8 to take 62nd place. Sophomore Lauren Hierholzer was the final placing runner for Baylor as she posted a time of 23:06.1 for to finish in 66th position.
The women totaled 217 points to beat out eighth-place LSU’s 230 point total and fall just short of TCU’s 189 point mark.
The Baylor men were led by seniors Taylor Jackson and Blake Niccum. Jackson finished the 10,000-meter race in 32:36.4 to place 46th overall, while Niccum finished 50th with a time of 32:39.8.
Junior Brad Miles and freshman Kyle Scanlan were next across the line for the Bears. Miles placed 68th at 32:59.9 and Scanlan was 71st at 33:03.5. Sophomore Jonathan Tijerina rounded out the top five for Baylor in 84th place with a time of 33:34.5.
“My guys ran their hearts out,” assistant coach Jon Capron said. “It just didn’t work out for us today. “When your first runner is 46th, it doesn’t really end well for you. Blake and Taylor really stepped up today, but we just came up short as a team. We are pretty disappointed, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort. I am proud of the way my guys fought.”
As a team, Baylor posted 307 points to finish just behind North Texas 288 point total and ahead of Houston’s 328 point total.
The top-two teams on both the men’s and women’s side received automatic berths into the NCAA Championship meet. For the women, Arkansas took the regional title with 44 points and Texas finishing second at 68 points. For the men, Texas took the title with 38 overall points, while Arkansas earned the second qualifying spot with 53 points.
The event wraps up Baylor’s season, which included five top-10 team finishes on the women's side and three more for the men. The women claimed two team titles on the season with wins at the Bear Twilight Invitational and UT-Arlington Season Opener, while the men finished second at both of those events.