Bob Timmons Invitational to Kick Off Cross Country Season

Aug. 28, 2007


The Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams will kick off the 2007 season with the Bob Timmons Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1. The Jayhawks’ only home meet of the fall will take place at Rim Rock Farm with the women’s 6K starting at 9 a.m., followed by the men’s 8K race at 10 a.m. <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas will try to sweep both the men’s and women’s competition just as they have the past two seasons.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

This year’s men’s squad returns two All-Americans, seniors Colby Wissel and Paul Hefferon. Kansas is only one of four NCAA schools to have multiple 2006 All-Americans currently in its program. The other three are Colorado (2006 Big 12 Champion), Oregon (2006 Pac-10 Champion) and Wisconsin (2006 Big Ten Champion).

Wissel will run the Rim Rock course for the last time in his career and the first time since winning the Big 12 Championship last fall. Hefferon, last year’s Bob Timmons Invitational Champion, and senior Patrick McGowan will also be a part of a field featuring 13 men’s teams. Hefferon won last year’s 8K race with a time of 25:38.95 to edge out Wissel by less than a second.

Junior Levi Huseman and sophomore Bret Imgrund will be looked on to be consistently in the team’s top-five. Kansas will also look for help from junior Victor Chesang and redshirt senior Jason Schweitzer.

The senior trio of Hayley Harbert, Alicia McGregor and Lisa Morrisey leads the women’s team. Looking to excel off great freshmen campaigns are sophomores Lauren Bonds and Kellie Schneider. Bonds is the top returning finisher for Kansas at last year’s Bob Timmons Invitational. She finished the 6K course in 23:15:04 and placed seventh while running unattached. Bonds and Schneider are two of eight sophomores for Kansas who will try to step up in their second year as Jayhawks. Junior Meagan James and sophomore Cassie Sokol will look to be reliable scorers for KU.

Rim Rock Farm will be host to Kansas cross country for the 34th year. The Bob Timmons Invitational is named after legendary KU coach Bob Timmons. At the helm of Kansas Track and Field and Cross Country from 1966-1988, Timmons coached 77 All-Americans, 24 NCAA champions, 16 world record holders and seven Olympians. In 1970, Timmons and his wife Pat purchased land north of Lawrence and, since 1974, that land has been the home to Kansas Cross Country.

Timmons, who coached Jim Ryan and John Lawson, donated the course to KU in 2004. Currently, former Kansas runner Steve Heffernan lives on Rim Rock Farm. Heffernan is the head cross country and track and field coach at LawrenceFree StateHigh School, while also making sure the farm stays in race condition.

Joining the University of Kansas, those competing on Saturday will be men’s and women’s teams from Allen County CC, Butler County CC, Emporia State University, Friends University, Garden City CC, Haskell Indian Nations, Hillsdale College, University of Missouri-Rolla, Oral Roberts, Pittsburg State, UMKC and Wayne State. NCAADivisionIIIGrinnelCollege will be sending their women’s team.

Quotes taken from the press conference on Tuesday Aug. 28.

Senior Hayley Harbert

On the team improving:

“There’s pressure on the underclassmen because there’s so many of them. They need to step it up and play a big role. I think at the same time we hope they’re leaders and we’ll do well if we all work together.”

Senior Colby Wissel

On Rim Rock Farm:

“It’s very difficult, especially early in the year, because you’re not sure what fitness level you’re at. There are a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. It’s really a mental challenge as well as physical one. You have to be patient and set yourself up right. I think most KU people like Rim Rock. We take pride in it, but at the same time we know what pitfalls to avoid.”