BRYAN – COLLEGE STATION, Texas – that of Eric Casarez second place led Aggie’s men to the tag team title, while Julia Abel led the Aggie Women to a fourth-place finish at the Arturo Barrios Invitational, held at the Dale Watts cross-country course on Saturday morning.
“Our culture is improving year by year,” Casarez said. “We haven’t won this competition since I’ve been here, so it was nice to dominate today.”
Running with just one shoe for the majority of the 8k race, Casarez finished second, 1.4 seconds behind Tulane’s Bradley Makuvire. Casarez’s time of 23:26.9 led Aggie’s men as they had five of the top 25 finishers. Francesco Romano joined Casarez in the top ten with his time of 24:04.6 to finish 10th. Completing the Aggies top five was Jonathan Chung (14e24:08.6), Chandon Chikara (22n/a24:15.1) and Gavin Hoffpauir (25e24:21.3).
In the 40-school field, the Aggie men won the tag team title with a score of 71 points, topping Ohio State’s score of 136.
Leading the Aggie women throughout the 6k race, Abell clocked 20:48.0 to place 12the. Santoro Abbey was the second Aggie to cross the finish line, placing 25e with his time of 21:13.7. Deirdre Nelson (37)e21:37.1) finished just ahead of his teammate Maddie Livingstone (40e21:38.7), while Kennady Fontenot was Aggie’s last goalscorer, clocking 22:01.7 to finish 62n/a.
“Julia [Abell] did a good job,” McRaven said. “Overall it was a solid performance on the women’s side, all things considered. We didn’t have a great race, we were missing parts and we finished fourth. It shows that we are better than a year ago when we had everyone and finished fourth, it’s a sign of our progress and our depth.”
The Texas A&M men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to Oxford, Mississippi to take on the Southeastern Conference championship game on Friday, October 28.
Texas A&M Quotes
Junior distance runner Eric Casarez
Finishing with just one shoe and a team win…
“Our team killed it, I didn’t even realize how well we did. Running in one shoe was one of the craziest things that happened to me in racing. We took the win and that’s all that matters. We have good momentum ahead of the conference.”
On team culture and on the way to the SEC…
“Our culture is improving year by year. It’s something new for us, we haven’t won this game since I’ve been here, so it was nice to dominate today. Since I ‘m here, the best we’ve ever done in the SEC is fifth, so we’re looking to do better than what we’ve done in the last few years. We’ve got the team to do it.
in the crowd today…
“It’s a crowd you can’t beat. You have people cheering on each side, it’s amazing. The volunteers and sports staff do a really good job of putting on a great competition every year, we really appreciate it.”
Remote trainer Wendel McRaven
On running the men’s race…
“We wanted to get out a little faster because we didn’t do a very good job at Paul Short Run, and we executed that plan but it was by no means perfect because you could see some people getting trapped a bit early with the big field.”
On that of Eric Casarez performance…
“Eric [Casarez] I ran well just crossing with the first ones, especially for running with one shoe, it was a very good performance.”
On the performance of the women’s team…
“Finish fourth in this batch without plain grace and i didn’t know until it was 2k and i noticed that Abbey [Santoro] fell and was knocked down at the start and I didn’t know that would happen until the end of the race, she did a great job of being our second runner. Julia [Abell] did a good job, overall it was a strong performance on the women’s side all things considered. We didn’t have a great race, we were missing parts and we finished fourth. It shows that we are better than a year ago when we had everyone and finished fourth, it’s a sign of our progress and our depth.”
The head coach Pat Henry
“It was one of the best performances I’ve seen from our men in several years. Eric [Casarez] looked good and running the last 3km with just one shoe showed a lot of heart for what he was doing. Coach McRaven is doing a great job with them and they are improving as a group. On the women’s side, we seemed a little more scattered this week. You can see some things they are improving on, their postures are improving as the race progresses. I think they’re all going to get better as we go along.”
On the crowd…
“A lot of people are starting to realize that it’s one of the best courses in the country. Whenever you have a program like Ohio State come down and Lipscomb which is known to have a good distance program and Florida, it’s encouraging for me and our program. We’ve built this course to be a national course and that’s what it’s becoming. I thank the 12th man and the administration for being here today “Today there are thousands of people here. We had over 800 runners today and just looking at how many people showed up, you can see that cross country is a sport that has a lot of followers.”
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