Cross Country Gears Up for 2006 Season at Bob Timmons Invitational

Aug. 30, 2006

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

Click here for Notes for the meet in PDF Format

The University of Kansas cross country teams open their 2006 season with the Bob Timmons Invitational Saturday at Rim Rock Farm. The women’s event will be a 6k run starting at 9 a.m., while the men will compete in an 8k race beginning at 10 a.m.

Both teams bring experience-laden squads into a season highlighted by Kansas hosting the Big 12 Cross Country Championships on October 27. For the women’s team, which won the 2005 Bob Timmons Invitational, the 2006 season offers an intriguing blend of veteran leadership and youthful anticipation. The team returns two seniors, Laura Major and Melissa Moody, six juniors and two sophomores who have all had a taste of Big 12 competition. Junior Connie Abbott was the team’s top finisher at the 2005 Bob Timmons Invitational, finishing seventh, and was closely followed by Major, who placed 10th. Junior Melissa O’Rourke (12th), junior Alicia McGregor (20th), sophomore Megan James (22nd) and junior Hayley Harbert (24th) rounded out the top-25 returning finishers from the 2005 Bob Timmons Invitational.

The men’s team looks to build off last year’s strong season, in which it finished third in the Big 12 and at the NCAA Midwest Regionals, its best finishes at the events in over a decade. The team returns senior Benson Chesang, the two-time defending Big 12 champion and the first Jayhawk to record consecutive league crowns since Al Frame in 1954 and 1955. The team also welcomes back two All-Big 12 performers, juniors Paul Hefferon and Colby Wissel, and five all-region honorees: Chesang, Hefferon, Wissel and seniors Erik Sloan and Tyler Kelly.

The team won the 2005 Bob Timmons Invitational, marking its second-straight victory at the event. Wissel is the defending champion, finishing the race in a time of 25:33.57. Kelly, who finished second, and Sloan, who finished third, also return for the Jayhawks.

“Everyone on the team is very grateful for Rim Rock Farm,” Wissel said. “We really appreciate it and are very excited to have the Big 12 Cross Country Championships there, just to show it off and have the home course advantage.”

The field includes Division I foes UMKC, Oral Roberts and Big 12 rival Kansas State. In addition, a series of junior and NAIA colleges round out the participants, including Friends University, Missouri-Rolla, Bethany University, Butler County CC, Garden City CC, Grinnell College, Haskell Indians Nations University and Neosho CC. Rim Rock Farm enters its 33rd year as the home course of the Jayhawks and was donated to the University by KU track and cross country coaching legend Bob Timmons in April 2005.

Following the Bob Timmons Invitational, the team will head to Manhattan, Kan., to compete against Sunflower state rival Kansas State in the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational on Sept. 8.

Click here to read an interview with Wissel.

Click here to read an interview with junior Lisa Morrisey.

Click here for a map to Rim Rock Farm.

Stay tuned to kuathletics.com for results