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Season Preview: TCU Cross Country

17 freshman harriers will hit the trails this coming season under new head coach Lisa Morgan-Richman

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 24 Baylor at TCU Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A new head coach often leads to roster overhauls in NCAA Division I athletics. The TCU cross country program is no different, as the Horned Frogs will welcome 17 new freshmen under Lisa Morgan-Richman, who took over the team in January 2020.

A five-time Team USA Track & Field coach between 2011-16, Morgan-Richman has 14 years of collegiate coaching experience that includes five years at Bloomfield College and nine years as an associate head coach at Seton Hall. Morgan-Richman coached 45 Big East champions and 26 NCAA All-Americans throughout her time at Seton Hall, and she’ll be looking to lead the Horned Frogs to that same level of success in 2020 and beyond.

Juniors Lakelin Conrad and Sean Byrne will return as TCU’s two upperclassmen on a 2020 men’s roster that features 16 underclassmen and 10 freshmen. Sophomores Bryce Batey, Samuel Busa, Mason Payne, Jake Bettencourt and DJ Sauer each earned experience this past season, recording top-80 finishes in the Big 12 Championships and top-30 finishes across several other meets. Busa landed as high as 17th, while Sauer took 16th at the Gerald Richey Invitational and Payne placed 20th at the North Texas Ken Garland/Northwest Invitational. Bettencourt brought home two top-25 placements for the Horned Frogs.

Senior Evelyn Mandel will lace up as the only upperclassman on a TCU women’s team that will carry seven freshman this coming season. Mandel has been a leader for the Horned Frogs over the last two years, recording four top-5 finishes during that span including a second-place performance at the Gerald Richey Invitational in 2019.

Redshirt sophomore Mariah Castillo turned in a stellar 2019 campaign, winning both the North Texas Ken Garland/Northwest Invitational and the Gerald Richey Invitational while finishing fourth in the season-opener at the Bear Twilight Invitational. Castillo ran two meets as a true freshman in 2018, taking fourth in the Texas A&M Invitational.

Castillo and Mandel were TCU’s top two finishers on the women’s side at the Big 12 Conference Championships this past season, while Conrad recorded TCU’s fastest time on the men’s side. All three harriers will be striving to lead the way once again when the Horned Frogs take their strides in 2020.