Cross country heads to conference


The Baker University men’s and women’s cross country teams are preparing for the Heart of America Athletic Conference Championships. The meet will be held at Swope Park in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday.

The teams have competed in five meets this year in preparation for the conference meet and possible slots in the NAIA National Championships.

The men’s team has consistently placed in the top 10 in each race as a team. The top five runners for the Wildcats include four upperclassmen and one freshman. Junior Joe Linder and freshman Greg Flores have consistently finished at the top for Baker.

“With such an experienced team, we know we can do well,” Linder said. “This is the year for us to win.”

As an individual, Linder is having the best season of his career, running almost a minute faster than his sophomore season.

“Everyone’s had their good and bad races, but we’re all pretty confident, especially after the last race in Cedar Rapids,” Linder said.

On the women’s side, freshman standout Janeane Hernandez has led the Wildcats in every competition this season. Jenna Black, Shelby Stephens and Bailey Horlander are other top runners for Baker.

Hernandez and the women’s team also have a good chance to make it to the podium in the conference meet.

The men’s team made it to the NAIA National Championships in 2014. Last year, both teams sent one runner to Nationals.

“Our mindset is just business as usual,” Linder said of the conference meet. “It’s going to be tough … but we are the most experienced team in the HAAC right now, and I believe we are also the most motivated.”