KU Cross Country Makes Strong Showing at Haskell Invitational
Oct. 8, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams turned in another strong performance on a windy morning at the Haskell Invitational Saturday. Five of the Jayhawks’ six competitors placed in the top ten of their respective races with three notching personal bests.
“I thought we competed really well today,” said third-year assistant coach Michael Whittlesey. “I thought the effort was really there, the focus was really there and I was very pleased with it.”
The women’s 5k race kicked off the day’s festivities at the meet hosted by nearby Haskell Indian Nations University. The Jayhawks had just two women competing but made sure they left their mark on Haskell’s campus course, Gentle Rolling Hills.
Junior Devin Wiegers and redshirt freshman Madison Moser got out to a fast start, forming a three-women pack with Emporia State’s Katie Mona that pulled away from the field early and led for the entire race.
In the final two kilometers, Mona pulled ahead, with Wiegers and Moser not staying far behind. Weigers would eventually finish second with a personal best 5K time of 19:29.00, her highest finish ever in a KU uniform.
“We were just planning to go out run hard, be confident and be focused and I think we did really well,” said Wiegers. “Personally I really felt like that was a real good race. I was in it and I was focused.”
Despite fighting through leg and back pains for almost the entire race, Moser fought to the very end and would cross the finish line in fourth with a time of 19:42.15.
“I think that was one of Devin’s best races in a long time,” said Whittlesey. “She put in a good, solid effort the whole way through. Madison Moser has been dealing with some health issues and she competed as hard as she could.”
Just after the women completed their event, the men kicked-off their race with four KU men donning the Crimson and Blue. The pace quickened early, making the KU pack nearly impossible to hold together. Redshirt freshman Brendan Soucie, who is more accustomed to running middle distances on the track, was the top Jayhawk for much of the race, leading the KU men through the 8K course in 26:21.21, a personal best. Soucie’s fourth-place finish would be the first of four Jayhawks to finish in the top 16 of a race that hosted 79 total runners.
“It was a good confidence booster for us to be able to come out here and actually compete with some people and finish high like we did today,” said Soucie following the race. “I think everyone competed really well today. I know I felt pretty good.”
The next three finishers for KU were junior Sean Proehl, who finished sixth (26:34.69) and collected a personal best. Lawrence High product, junior Ben Wilson, came in at eighth with a personal best time of 26:51.75 while junior Colin Jockish notched a 16th-place finish, crossing the finish line in 27:29.81.
“I was really pleased on the men’s side of how they ran together and the effort they put up all the way through,” explained Whittlesey. “It was great to see Brendan (Soucie) do well. I told him I thought we might have a cross country runner in the future. A middle distance guy doesn’t always want to hear that but he competed really well and ran a nice time today.”
The meet at Haskell was a prime opportunity for the KU runners to up their standing on the KU depth charts. Many of the runners are vying for spots on the teams that will compete in the conference and regional meets later in the year. While Coach Whittlesey was reserved about who impressed him most on the day, he was not afraid to talk about what he thought of the competitive mentality his runners showed on Saturday.”
“The main thing we’re always looking for in every race is how you compete,” said Whittlesey. “Obviously that was the way it was with everybody across the board today. I don’t think there was anybody that shut it down or didn’t compete every step of the race.”
Both teams will now look forward to the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Friday, Oct. 14. The competition is projected to be the stiffest of the season and will provide both teams with opportunities to go up against the nation’s top teams before the postseason meets begin. With the Jayhawks now entering the second half of the season, they have begun to gear up for a strong push coming in the final two months of the season.
“Right now it looks like everybody is healthy so hopefully that continues through the next week,” concluded Whittlesey. “I think we’ve got all of our pieces back together and no one’s hurt. We’ve had some really great workouts this last week.”
The meet, held in Madison, Wis., will begin with the women’s 6K race at 1 p.m., and will be followed by the men’s 8K at 1:40 p.m. For results and a full recap of the meet log on to kuathletics.com.