Baylor's cross country teams will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the NCAA South Central Region Championship on Friday.
The women's 6,000 meters will be the first race of the day at 11 a.m., followed by the men's 10,000-meter race at 12 p.m. at the Agri Park Course.
As part of the South Central Region, the Bears will face teams from Arkansas, Louisiana and the eastern half of Texas. For only the fifth time in the last 14 seasons, Baylor will not be hosting the regional.
Regional teams will put their top seven runners out in an effort to be one of the top two teams in the regional and in turn earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. As in other races this fall, only the top five times from those seven runners will count towards the team score.
Along with the top two teams, the top four individuals not on an advancing team receive an automatic berth into the national meet. Additional teams and individuals are chosen through an at-large selection process for the 2016 NCAA Championship, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, in Terre Haute, Ind.
The Baylor women are currently No. 3 in the USTFCCCA's South Central regional rankings and ranked 25th in the country. The Baylor men are seventh in the USTFCCCA's South Central regional rankings.
Following a fifth-place finish at the Big 12 Championships, the BU women will only face conference foes Texas and TCU on Friday. Last season, the Baylor women were fourth at the regional as Maggie Montoya earned All-Region honors and a spot in the NCAA Championship field with a second-place finish overall. Peyton Thomas produced her first All-Region with a seventh-place finish.
On the women’s side, Baylor’s seven runners will come from these eight traveling athletes, Lindsey Bradley, Kathryn Foreman, Hana Marsheck, Montoya, Gabby Satterlee, Thomas, Anna West and Madie Zimmerman
“We’ve got to go back to running smart,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “This is a young group. They’re not an old veteran team that’s been through a lot of battles in running regionals and nationals the next week. They’re ready for it. Mentally, they know we can do it. To be in the spot that we’re in right now, that means you go up and hit a home run at Notre Dame and then hit another home run at Wisconsin, that’s pretty big. That helped them a lot. It takes some pressure off this weekend. Let’s go run, let’s do what we need to do.”
Besides Montoya and Thomas returning, the Bears will also have Zimmerman, who ran on last year’s regional squad. Meanwhile, Bradley, Foreman, Marsheck, Satterlee and West could be getting their first regional experience for Baylor.
The Baylor men dropped to seventh in the regional poll, after claiming seventh at the Big 12 Championship. The Bears will be looking to improve upon last season's sixth-place finish at the regional meet.
On the men’s side, Baylor’s seven runners will come from this travel group of eight including, Eric Anderson, Jeff Kirwin, Matt League, Sean McCullough, Devin Meyrer, Matthew Parham, Sam Sahli and Jordan West.
“I’m encouraged,” assistant head coach Jon Capron said. “I think we’ve got a little bit to fight for and I just want this team to run to its potential, I still don’t think we’ve done it. Whether our potential is third, second, fourth, fifth, I’ll be pleased.”
Anderson, League and Parham all ran on last season’s regional squad for BU, while Anderson has been the lead runner for the Bears in all four of his races this season.
Complete results and a recap of the meet will be available on BaylorBears.com following the event.