Jayhawks Land at No. 10 in Preseason Rankings

Sept. 12, 2006


The University of Kansas men’s cross country team landed on the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association preseason poll at No. 10. The Jayhawks have won their first two meets of the season and head to Minneapolis, Minn., on Sept. 23 to participate in the Roy Griak Invitational.

At its first meet of the season, the Bob Timmons Invitational, juniors Paul Hefferon and Colby Wissel and senior Erik Sloan led the charge for Kansas, finishing first, second and fourth respectively. For Hefferon, the victory marked the first of his career. Wissel followed closely on his trail, finishing 24 hundredths of a second behind Hefferon for his second-place result. Sloan’s fourth-place finish came only 35 seconds after Wissel had crossed the finish line. Also landing in the top 10 for the Jayhawks at the meet were junior Patrick McGowan (ninth) and senior Tyler Kelly (10th).

On Sept. 8, the team defeated in-state and Big 12 rival Kansas State at the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational, 25-30. Wissel won the meet for the second-consecutive year, running the 5k in an impressive 14:57.2. He was followed by McGowan, who placed second and cut nearly a minute off his time from his performance at the event last year.

Coupled with this great start is the fact that the team has yet to see senior Benson Chesang, the back-to-back Big 12 Champion, participate in a meet. A 2004 All-American, Chesang is the first Jayhawk to repeat as conference champion since Al Frame did in 1954-55. The team also welcomes an impressive roster of freshmen eager to compete for a spot in the top seven. Freshman Bret Imgrund placed third at the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational in his first taste of intercollegiate competition.

Head Coach Stanley Redwine welcomes the recognition, though he realizes that it carries certain responsibilities.

“It’s a great place to start and our goal is to finish there or better,” Redwine said. “However, the season is long, so the rankings don’t mean as much to us as the actual competition. It brings notoriety, but we have to live up to that reputation.”

Kansas is joined by three other Big 12 schools in the rankings. Colorado, the 10-time defending Big 12 Champion, enters the rankings at No. 3. Texas follows closely behind at No. 5 and Oklahoma State slides in just ahead of the Jayhawks at No. 9.

For more information on the USTFCCCA’s rankings, click here.