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Baylor runners ready for conference

Oct. 27, 2000

Men's and women's cross country teams want a Big 12 title

By MONIQUE BECK

Reporter

The Baylor men's and women's cross country teams will be venturing to Boulder, Colo., this weekend to participate in the Big 12 Championships.

Led by sophomore Ferenc Bekesi, the men have finished in the top ten in every meet this season, and Bekesi was Baylor's fastest runner each time.

The men also won the opening five-mile meet of the season, the Baylor Invitational. Bekesi placed second overall with a time of 26:40.

'Winning at home gave us the confidence booster we needed to get the season off on the right foot,' sophomore Alex Adler said.

Earlier this week, four women and three men from the cross country teams were chosen for the Academic All-Big 12 Team.

Sophomores Stephanie Bennett, Erin Dixon, Leah Marbach and junior captain Kara Newton were placed on the women's first team.

On the men's side, freshmen Blair Mathews and Bill Thomas were put on the men's first team and Adler was named to the second team.

Adler said the team has been well prepared for the Big 12 Championships by new coach Todd Harbour.

'Coach has mentally prepared us by getting us to strong meets with teams identical [in talent] if not better than the teams we'll meet in the Big 12,' he said.

Meanwhile, the women's cross country team has placed in the top five of every meet, capped by a win at the North Texas Invitational.

Bennett and Newton, who were described by Marbach as the team's top two runners, have shared Baylor's best individual results this season.

Bennett's best results were at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree when she placed fourth overall, while Newton claimed the individual title at the North Texas Invitational.

Newton said the women's team has a goal to finish in the top five at conference and participate in the NCAA National Championships.

She said the Bears have a better chance of achieving their goals if they beat nationally ranked Texas A&M University, which Newton classified as the team's biggest competition this weekend.

Adler said the men's team also has goals for the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 20 in Ames, Iowa.

The team wants to finish in the top six at conference and top two at district.

Adler also said their biggest competitors for this weekend are the University of Texas and Kansas State University because the Bears have been 'really close' to beating these teams in past meets.

'Cross county is more mental than physical,' he said. 'We're looking to tear them up.'