Kansas Men Take First, Women Second at Bob Timmons Classic
Sept. 3, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – KU junior Zach Zarda collected his first collegiate individual win Saturday morning as he led the Jayhawk men to a first-place finish at the Bob Timmons Classic. The team’s win marked the seventh-straight year the men have brought home a victory from the season’s first meet and the first time a KU male has won the title since Colby Wissel did so in 2007. The women’s team would take second place behind Allie Marquis’ fourth-place finish. The men’s and women’s races were held at the Jayhawks’ home course, Rim Rock Farm.
“For both men and women I think we looked okay today,” said Head Coach Stanley Redwine. “It was our first race so there’s no reason to panic if someone didn’t do well. There’s definitely some areas where we can get better though.”
Zarda and the rest of the men’s pack led for the majority of the race, with the top five finishers collecting average mile times of 5:24 or better. In the final two kilometers, the groups began to spread out but many of the KU competitors were battling for position down the home stretch. Zarda stayed on top, however, crossing the finish line in 19:11.30 and besting Oklahoma Baptist’s Cordell Baker by over six seconds.
“We held five of our top six runners out of this race and it was on my shoulders and a couple other guys’ shoulders to get us a win and run as a pack,” said Zarda following his win. “It was good to see where my fitness was and build some confidence as I move forward in the year.”
The men would go on to place six runners in the top 12, with several young faces finishing in the team’s top five. Redshirt freshman James Wilson, true freshman Evan Landes and redshirt freshman Emilio Trujillo finished fifth, sixth and seventh while redshirt freshman Conner Day rounded out KU’s top five, placing 11th.
“I thought the men did a really good job today,” added Coach Redwine. “The goal was to compete hard. For Zach Zarda to win was absolutely phenomenal. We’re really looking forward to the team continuing to get better.”
The KU women, who placed second in the team standings, were led by junior Allie Marquis, who traversed the 5K course in 19:44.60 to finish fourth. The women went up against a talented Oral Roberts squad that finished one, two, three in the individual standings and would eventually take home the team title. Marquis’ finish marked the second time in her career she has been the team’s top finisher and was the junior’s best-ever finish in the event.
“I think I could have run a little bit better at the end but I think I got some confidence back today that I had lost last year,” explained Marquis after her race. “We’ll learn from today’s race and try to do better next time.”
The KU women fought for the entire race, with the pack sticking together for the first two kilometers. The pace was pushed early by a pesky Oral Roberts squad that placed four of its eight runners in the top seven. After falling behind with just 1,500 meters to go, a late push by several Jayhawks would not be enough, sending the team home with a second-place finish with 35 points. In the end, the women would place five in the top 12 with senior Cori Christensen taking sixth, sophomore Brittany Tate finishing eighth, junior Kathleen Thompson placing ninth and senior Devin Wiegers finishing 12th to round out KU’s top-five finishers.
“The women are not where we wanted to be,” explained Assistant Coach Mike Whittlesey. “We talked about when the other team makes a move we have to be ready to respond to them and I don’t think we did that today. I saw some good things but overall we need to get better.”
The men and women performed well on the day despite several of the veterans not competing, giving the coaches a great opportunity to evaluate that depth that will be available on this year’s rosters.
“We didn’t run all of our people today and those that didn’t run we definitely will need them back,” concluded Coach Redwine. “There are some areas were we need to improve as far as closing the gap between our one and five runners, and I think at practice we’ll get that done.”
Both teams will lace up the spikes and hit the trails again Saturday, Sept. 10 as they go up against rival Missouri in the Missouri Cross Country Challenge in Columbia, Mo. Many of the men’s and women’s top runners will make their season debuts in the meet to try and take down the Tigers. The men’s 8K race is set to start at 10 a.m., while the women will begin their 6K race at 10:40 a.m., at the A.L. Gustin Golf Course.