Jayhawks Prepare for Battle with Tigers at Missouri Cross Country Challenge

Sept. 8, 2011

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – After opening the season with solid performances at the Bob Timmons Classic last weekend, the Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel across the border to Columbia, Mo., for a showdown with the Missouri Tigers at the Missouri Cross Country Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 10.

“We want the younger athletes to continue to do what they did this past weekend,” said Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey. “We’re also going to bring many of our top runners from last year back into the mix this weekend. We expect them to lead that young group and we’re looking to have a very tight pack from runners one to five.”

The KU men are hoping to make it three-straight victories in Columbia, while the women will attempt to bring home their first team win at the annual meet. A year ago, the men featured six runners among the top 10 finishers, including the overall champion, Donny Wasinger. The women also had a strong pack cross the finish line, with four KU finishers in the top 10.

Many veterans will make their season debuts for both the men’s and the women’s teams this weekend. Senior Rebeka Stowe will compete in her first meet of the 2011 season, as she did not run in the Bob Timmons Classic last weekend. Stowe is the top returning Jayhawk for the women, after having led the squad in each of the four meets she competed in during the 2010 campaign. Also returning for the KU women this weekend will be senior Kara Windisch and junior Tessa Turcotte, each of whom were top-five runners for the women a season ago.

“On the women’s side we’re expecting our leaders to get back in there and take care of business,” said Whittlesey. “We’re hoping that some of the top finishers from last weekend will follow suit and we can see some good things happen this Saturday.”

On the men’s side, senior Austin Bussing, junior Josh Baden and sophomores Jose Muñoz and Josh Munsch will try to lead their team to victory for a third-consecutive season. Each sat out of the meet last Saturday, are well rested and are primed to put forth strong efforts this weekend.

“I’m just looking for the men to have a really tight pack,” said Whittlesey. “Josh Munsch has been looking great and so has Josh Baden. Austin Bussing and Jose (Muñoz) are really going to round out the men’s team nicely. I expect those guys to lead a tight pack.”

The meet this Saturday, which is being held at the A.L. Gustin Golf Course, will be the first meeting between the Kansas and Missouri athletic teams this academic year. The matchup, as always, brings the intensity of a rivalry that dates back to the Civil War.

“The importance of this meet from a conference and a national perspective may not mean that much but from a rivalry perspective, it means everything,” added Whittlesey. “What it comes down to is competing and beating the other team and the fact is that it’s Missouri, and we need to be fighting that much harder.”

The men’s 8K race will begin at 10 a.m. CST Saturday, followed by the women’s 5K at 10:40 a.m. CST. Complete results and a meet recap will be available on kuathletics.com following the races.