LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech head cross country coach Jon Murray announced Tuesday his squad’s 2020 fall schedule. The team will run in three regular season meets before the Big 12 Championships.
Tech will begin the fall Sept. 18 in Abilene for the Abilene Christian Invitational, where they will face off with ACU, Baylor, TCU and UTEP. Two weeks later, the group will depart for Stillwater, Okla., for Oklahoma State’s Cowboy Jamboree on Oct. 3. The final opportunity to prep for the conference title meet will come at Texas A&M’s Arturo Barrios Invitational on Oct. 17. The Big 12 Championships will be held Oct. 30 in Lawrence, Kan.
“This is a very good schedule for us,” said Murray. “We’re going to get to go against some good teams and see some very nice courses. Oklahoma State was supposed to host nationals this year and will host conference in the future, and Texas A&M always has a nice course as well. Going up to Lawrence for the Big 12 meet will be great because that is a historically great course also.”
The NCAA voted to postpone the regional and national championship meets to the spring, but Murray’s schedule still looks similar to previous years.
“It really isn’t too different of a schedule for us,” Murray said. “With the exception of not having an early home meet, we’re still running every other weekend to prepare for the conference meet.”
Texas Tech will return four of its seven Big 12 scorers from last season’s fifth-place men’s squad, with the potential for a fifth. Cornelius Kiprotich fought through injury to place 18th in his first conference cross country meet, while a consistent Luke Estes will compete his junior season as the other returning scorer. Richard Taylor and Eric Maclean will also return – both for their sophomore seasons. Grad transfer Takieddine Hedeilli, who led the squad with a fifth-place overall finish before going on to break the school mile record and win Big 12 indoor titles in the 1000m and mile, could return pending an eligibility waiver from the NCAA.
The women’s squad will look to reload after placing fifth at the Big 12 Championships last season – their highest finish in nine years. The group will lean on senior Claudrice McKoy, a transfer from South Plains where she was a four-time national champion. McKoy placed 33rd in her first Big 12 title meet last season. Junior Binta Ka will follow as well as Jazmyn Martinez, with whom Murray has been impressed in practice. Sydney White will round out Tech’s returning scorers after two PRs and an invitation to join the team’s Mountain Regional roster for the first time as a sophomore.
The Red Raiders will welcome 12 freshmen and two junior transfers to the group this fall. Joanna Archer and Sharon Chumo will bring a combined 14 NJCAA titles worth of experience to the course. Chumo owns the lone cross country championship.
To Murray, getting a year of races in with these men’s and women’s teams without it counting against eligibility is invaluable.
“This whole season is a win,” he said. “We’re able to compete and it doesn’t count against their eligibility, so it’s a great year for experience for the whole group. We brought in a huge class – especially with 10 men – so getting to see them compete without it counting against their eligibility will be tremendous.”