TCU women’s cross country takes silver for third consecutive week, men finish 7th

First-year Erica Francesconi finishes second for the Frogs at the Texas A&M Invite, 6th place overall. Sept. 16, 2022. (photo courtesy of:

By Micah Pearce, Staff Writer

The TCU women’s cross country team continued their podium finishes in College Station after claiming second at the Texas A&M Invitational. The men’s team took seventh place. 

Gracie Morris once again took charge on the 5k course with a second-place finish overall. She ran a time of 17:21.3 (5:35/mile), just 10 seconds behind the lead runner. 

The rest of the women’s team followed close behind, all finishing in the top-25 overall and within the top 20 as far as scoring goes. 

Freshman Erica Francesconi swapped places with Mariana Martinez this week, finishing 6th overall and second on the team in a time of 18:10.3 (5:50/mile). Martinez took 8th overall and finished in 18:18.5 (5:53/mile) after crossing the 1.7k mark right behind Francesconi. 

Jenna Buchanan was the next Frog to cross the line. She finished 14th overall in a time of 18:39.9 (6:00/mile). 

The last three Frogs to finish were Elena Viejo, Jasmin Muhamad-Graham and Peyton McQuillan. They placed 18th, 20th and 22nd, respectively. All three finished within 5 seconds of each other, from 18:59.5 (6:06/mile) to 19:04.6 (6:08/mile). 

With another second-place finish and a 1-7 split of 1:43, they showed another example of why they have the potential to place high in the Big 12 Championship and move on to NCAA regionals. 

“The women ran a gutsy race…they went out there with a plan and executed it solidly,” said assistant coach Roger Cooke. 

On the men’s side

The men’s team had a good showing last week at the UTA meet, but met a different challenge this week at the Texas A&M Invitational 8k course, which is equivalent to about 4.97 miles.

Stone Burke held his position as the men’s top finisher for the team. He crossed the line in a time of 25:27.5 (5:07/mile) for 28th place overall a​​fter being in 18th at the 1.7k mark. 

William Kirk, a freshman out of California, made the move into second place for the Frogs. He finished 39th overall in 26:01.4 (5:14/mile). 

“Coming into the season, a few top guys have been banged up with injuries, which has given [me] an opportunity to step up and help out the team,” said Kirk.

Kirk moved in front of Finn Riley from last week, who finished at A&M 45th overall after being in 29th at the 1.7k mark. He put up a time of 26:17.8 (5:17/mile).

At the 1.7k mark, Kirk was in 24th place. TCU’s top three all dropped around 14 places from the 1.7k mark, a little over a mile into the race. They started strong, but bit off more than they could chew and fell behind throughout the race. 

It’s a point the coaches have made clear is important, especially with a team lacking a fully-healthy roster. 

“Our guy’s team is not at full-strength so we haven’t been able to run a full-strength squad yet,” said Cooke. 

Drake Young and Ethan Anderson were the next to follow, finishing 50th and 61st, respectively. They rounded out the scoring for the Frogs with times of 26:35.8 (5:20/mile) and 27:11.8 (5:28/mile). 

The final two runners to cross the line were Gabe Diaz and Ryan Martin, who ran 28:46.8 (5:47/mile) and 29:11.8 (5:52/mile), respectively. 

This was the first 8k race for the men’s team, matching length they will race when they get to the Big 12 Championships. 

Looking ahead

TCU heads into “Hell Month,” where “training ramps up and workouts become extremely difficult to complete,” said Kirk.

Despite the name, Kirk said he is more excited about getting into harder training over the next month than he is intimidated by it.

After the month-long training emphasis, the teams will return to College Station for the Texas A&M Arturo Barrios Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 15. The week after that will be the Big 12 Championship meet.