By Steve Holt, Opinion Editor
The women’s cross country team placed seventh out of 21 teams at the Texas A&M Invitational Cross Country Meet in College Station Saturday. Texas A&M placed first in the team competition, which was made up of primarily Division I teams, and ACU finished just ahead of Baylor Univer-sity with 170 points.
Senior Justine Nahimana, who missed last weekend’s Cowboy Jamboree with a sprained ankle, was the top Wildcat runner in the 6,000-meter race. Her time of 22:48 was good for 14th place overall, and head coach Jon Murray said she was the main reason for ACU’s team position.
“Having Justine back was pretty huge,” Murray said. “Our depth isn’t as strong this year, so that hurts. Having Justine in there takes that gap away.”
The time gap between the first and fifth runners was the lowest ACU has seen all season, and Murray said this factor is a key to lower team points.
Senior Angie Waters placed 19th in the race with a time of 23:08, followed by sophomore Cassie Chaffin in 28th (23:21). Freshman Abbie Waters placed 44th in 24:00 and senior Amie Lindley rounded out the top five, 65th in 24:44.
Rice University was the second place team with 88 points, followed by the University of Houston, Cal State-North-ridge, South Plains College and Texas Christian University.
The Wildcats had never participated in the Texas A&M Invitational before Saturday, and Murray said it felt good to beat some teams against which his team rarely competes.
“It was nice to beat a lot of teams from Texas,” Murray said. “We don’t race against them very often-we usually travel out of state.”
South Plains runner Adeh Mwamba was the top individual with a time of 21:13, while SMU’s Emily Field placed second in 21:19.
Jody Pelletier placed 102nd in the race and freshman Amanda Maynard rounded out ACU’s top seven runners in 121st.
Murray said Saturday’s race was a good preview of the women’s potential heading into the Lone Star Conference Championship on Oct. 26.
The men’s team had the weekend off before it travels to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Chile Pepper Festival on Saturday. The ACU women will not race again until the conference meet.