Kansas Cross Country Set to Compete at OSU Cowboy Jamboree
Oct. 1, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
After a two-week break from competition, the KU cross country teams return to action with the OSU Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla. on Saturday, Oct. 3.
“We picked up the intensity and the volume of all of our workouts over the last couple weeks,” said assistant coach Michael Whittlesey. “With two weeks off between races, we were really able to get back to work and put a lot of care into our workouts. The athletes have really stepped up with their intensity, focus and commitment and I have been really pleased with their effort.”
The Jamboree is the oldest cross country race in the nation and features a unique course that runs directly through the Oklahoma State University campus. The Jayhawks will face the largest field of competitors so far this season, which includes many of the teams competing at the Midwest Regional Championships.
“Now comes the hard part because our team will be faced with a much bigger field,” said Whittlesey. “It is harder to run as a pack in these bigger races, because you can kind of get `lost in the soup.’ It is going to be a very good test for us and we will need to be sharp on our execution of the race plan.”
The KU men’s team has had a successful start to the 2009 campaign, winning the Bob Timmons Classic and Missouri Cross Country Challenge. Sophomore Donny Wasinger led the squad in both events and will again look to pace the men’s team in Stillwater. He will be joined by senior Bret Imgrund, junior Nick Caprario and sophomores Zach Zarda and Austin Bussing, all of whom have scored points for the Jayhawks in the first two meets of the season.
“Based on everything we have seen, Donny is probably going to continue to be our lead runner, but if he has an off day, I’m confident we have enough guys who can step up and fill the field for us,” said Whittlesey.
The men will also expect strong performances from sophomore Kaleb Humphreys and freshman David Roberts.
“The great thing we have seen in the last couple weeks is the jump-up that we all expected from Humphreys,” said Whittlesey. “He is a guy who should be in our top five and he has been working out stride-for-stride with Donny in practice. Our men’s roster could really fluctuate every meet in terms of that front five, which is actually a great thing to have because it shows our depth and means we can run with a really tight pack.”
The women’s team enters the OSU Cowboy Jamboree after opening its season with a first-place finish at the Bob Timmons Classic and second-place finish at the Missouri Cross Country Challenge.
Leading the charge for the Jayhawks this year have been senior Lauren Bonds, junior Amanda Miller and sophomores Kara Windisch and Rebeka Stowe. Bonds finished in the top 10 at last year’s Jamboree, while Miller, Stowe and Windisch placed among the top 50. In order to have success this weekend, these four runners will need to maintain a tight pack.
“We need to execute our race plan of running as a team as much as possible, especially with our No. 3 and No. 4 runners,” said Whittlesey. “Windisch and Stowe should really be running with Miller, our No.2, in every meet. In my eyes, those three girls could be interchanged from a place standpoint and they need to be able to recognize that and race with that mentality. If those three continue to work well together, they will be able to close the gap on Bonds.”
Although the women’s team boasts a strong group of veteran runners, several freshmen have proved themselves already this season and will look to score points this weekend in Stillwater.
“I also think we have two to three strong girls in Kathleen Thompson, Kyra Kilwein and Allie Marquis, who could easily fill in that fifth spot,” said Whittlesey. “I think we have learned how to utilize them effectively in the last couple weeks. They have been training well with each other and racing with each other, so I think we are going to do much better and be more competitive in that fifth spot as well.”
This marks the second year in a row the Jayhawks have competed in the OSU Cowboy Jamboree. Last year, the KU men finished seventh out of 23 teams, while the women’s team placed fourth out of 27.
The men will run the 8K course, starting at 9:10 a.m. CDT, followed by the women, who begin at 9:45 a.m. CDT with a 5K race. A meet recap and complete results will be available on www.kuathletics.com following completion of the event.