Kansas Duo Named Big 12 Runners of the Week

Sept. 16, 2008

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After impressive showings at the Missouri Cross Country Challenge in Columbia, Mo., junior Lauren Bonds and freshman Zach Zarda have been named Big 12 Runners of the Week for competition occurring this past weekend, the conference office announced Tuesday.

“I think it’s a great example of hard work paying off,” Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine said. “Lauren has really worked well, and she beat a really good runner this weekend so I think she is well-deserving. Zach has been doing the same. He’s a freshman that has stepped up and gotten the job done. We’re definitely excited about both of them.”

Bonds becomes the first KU women’s cross country runner in conference history to achieve the honor.

“It’s an honor,” Bonds said. “I’ve never been Big 12 Runner of the Week before, so I’m pretty happy about it. (Being the first KU women’s runner to take home the award) makes it even more exciting. Hopefully I’ll get it again sometime.”

This weekend marked the second consecutive race that Bonds was the only runner in the field to break the 19-minute mark in the 5K, posting a time of 18:59.29 to take home the women’s individual title in Columbia. The Hutchinson, Kan., native ran 18:53.1 two weeks ago en route to winning the Bob Timmons Classic.

Zarda secured his first career weekly honor, and is the first KU runner since Colby Wissel last season (Sept. 11) to win the award.

“It’s a little surprising,” Zarda said of the honor. “It’s pretty cool, I’ll take it.”

Zarda, a product of Shawnee, Kan., finished in sixth place overall at the Missouri Cross Country Challenge with a time of 27:12.87 in his first race as a Jayhawk runner.

Bonds, Zarda and the rest of the Jayhawks return to action Oct. 4 when they compete in the OSU Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla.