KU Men and Women Sweep Missouri Cross Country Challenge
Sept. 10, 2011
Columbia, Mo. – Kansas cross country put on a dominating performance with the Jayhawks claiming both the men’s and women’s team titles at the Missouri Cross Country Challenge Saturday morning. Senior Rebeka Stowe led the women by winning the second-individual title of her career, while redshirt freshman James Wilson led a strong men’s pack, placing second.
“It was a great effort by both the men and women today,” said Head Coach Stanley Redwine. “I thought they competed well as a team and some of the things we did poorly last weekend, we did a much better job of doing this week. To win both (races) was really good.”
The women finished 1-2 in the race that was held at A.L Gustin Golf Course, Missouri’s home course. Leading the way was Stowe, who took home the second-individual title of her career, the first coming in 2009 at the Bob Timmons Classic. Fellow senior Kara Windisch claimed the runner-up spot, which was the best of her collegiate career.
“It’s really exciting,” said Stowe after her race. “Last night and this morning I was thinking about how this is my last year and I wanted to start out on a good note individually and with the team. We executed how we were supposed to and it’s exciting.”
The women held their group together for the first two kilometers before splitting up at the end of the second mile. Stowe led the race from start to finish with each of her teammates not far behind for the first half of the race.
“It’s a really good start,” said Stowe of her team’s performance. “We haven’t pack run this well in a couple of years. So we obviously have a lot of ability this year. This is just the beginning.”
The women would go on to place five runners in the top ten to claim the team title by a full 16 points over Missouri. Following Stowe (17:43.93) and Windisch (17:55.56) for the Jayhawks was senior Cori Christensen (18:28.59) and junior Kyra Kilwein (18:29.85), who crossed the finish line in fifth and sixth. Rounding out the top five KU finishers was junior Tessa Turcotte (18:41.90), who came in at ninth.
“We won the little races on the women’s side,” said Assistant Coach Mike Whittlesey. “We really went out well and got that first one in front of us. We looked really good today.”
On the men’s side, redshirt freshman James Wilson led a tight men’s pack that would eventually place its top-five runners among the top-seven finishers. The men’s group led for the majority of the race and held together until Missouri’s men made an aggressive move in the third mile.
“That was part of our game plan,” explained Wilson following the race. “Coach (Whittlesey) said he wanted us to stay in a pack and move together and once one of their guys went for it, our job was to respond and go after it. I thought we did a really good job of that.”
Wilson fought his own battle with Missouri runner Max Storms with both runners jockeying for position over much of the last two miles. While Storms may have one the individual battle by winning the individual title, Wilson won the war, pushing his team to victory and doing it all as a freshman.
“James is a really tough guy,” said Whittlesey. “He’s got some really nice wheels. He’s going to be really good runner and that’s why we redshirted him last year, to get him a year better and a year stronger.
After Wilson finished second with a time of 26:54.35, senior Austin Bussing arrived at the finish line just seconds later, clocking in at 27:02.35. Sophomore Josh Munsch and freshmen Emilio Trujillo and Evan Landes would complete the Kansas top five, finishing in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
“The men’s team did a great job of team racing today,” said Whittlesey. “We had seven to nine guys up front. We kept a good rhythm the whole time and when Missouri came up we responded really well.”
The Kansas teams swept the Missouri meet for the first time in the meet’s 19-year history. While the men claimed a victory for the fourth-consecutive season the women took home the meet title for the first time and their first meet since the 2010 Bob Timmons Classic.
“It’s awesome,” said Stowe of beating rival Missouri. “Anytime you can come out and beat some Tigers, it’s a good time.”
Both teams will now have a two week break before they travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Roy Griak Invitational. With the early season meets behind them and their confidence building, the coaches are looking forward to see what the team will do in the later season meets.
“Last week I said it was early and we just need to take it a race at a time,” said Redwine. “Again, it’s another meet and we have to prepare for the next one just like last week. We had a better reaction to our preparation this week and we need to keep doing that.”