Kansas Prepares to Battle Tigers in Missouri Cross Country Challenge

Sept. 10, 2009


After sweeping their first meet of the 2009 season, the Kansas cross country teams travel across the border to Columbia, Mo. for the Missouri Cross Country Challenge, Sat. Sept. 12.

“We are looking forward to the meet in Missouri this Saturday,” said assistant coach Michael Whittlesey. “It is another very good test to see where we are as a team at this point of the season. As always, this is going to be a tough-fought race when two rivals meet each other. We are going to have to raise our level of competitiveness, as we are visiting MU on its home course.”

Both the KU men and women finished second at last year’s race, with several athletes placing among the top 10. The Jayhawks will compete against four other schools, including Lincoln University, Missouri, Saint Louis University and William Woods.

Senior Lauren Bonds will try to defend her title, as she won the women’s 5K race in 2008. She will be joined by junior Amanda Miller, who finished fifth at the meet last season, and sophomore standouts Rebeka Stowe and Kara Windisch.

Also competing are Kellie Schneider, Devin Wiegers and freshmen Kyra Kilwein, Kathleen Thompson and Allie Marquis, all of whom placed in the top 15 last weekend at the Bob Timmons Classic.

“We will be running at full strength this weekend with the women’s team,” said Whittlesey. “It is going to be important that our two-four runners of Miller, Stowe and Windisch work very well together and help close the gap with our number five runner.”

On the men’s side, the Jayhawks will look to senior Bret Imgrund and sophomores Donny Wasinger and Zach Zarda to lead the pack. Zarda was the No. 1 KU finisher at last year’s Missouri Cross Country Challenge, posting an 8K time of 27:12.87.

Freshman David Roberts will also play a significant role for KU this weekend, as he is coming off a solid performance at the Bob Timmons Classic. Roberts finished second on the team and fifth overall at his first collegiate meet. He will be joined by juniors Nick Caprario and Dan Van Orsdel, and sophomores Austin Bussing, Kaleb Humphreys, Diego Ladron and Sam Bird.

“The gap between our No. 1 and No. 5 runners on the men’s team was only 15 seconds last week, and if we can continue this spread, we will be very good,” said Whittlesey. “Missouri returns a strong team from last year, but we should match up very well with them. We have a very good picture of how good we can be this season and what we need to do to make a strong bid to move up in the conference.”

The Jayhawks will compete on the A.L. Gustin Golf Course, which is also home to the 2009 Big 12 Championships.

“The Big 12 championships are being held on Missouri’s course as well, so this meet will also help our preparations for the Championships,” said Whittlesey. “Familiarity with a course proves to be very important in this sport.”

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