Jayhawks Ready for Tough Test Friday at Wisconsin adidas Invitational

Oct. 12, 2011

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Women’s 5K map Get Acrobat Reader | Men’s 8K map Get Acrobat Reader

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a strong showing at the Haskell Invitational last weekend, the Kansas cross country team will travel to Madison, Wis., on Friday, Oct. 14 to compete in the 2011 Wisconsin adidas Invitational. The Jayhawks will face their largest field and toughest competition thus far in the season, as 81 teams, including 20 of the nation’s top 30 teams on both the men’s and women’s sides, are scheduled to compete.

“This meet is probably going to run tougher than the conference meet or the regional meet in terms of the size of the field,” said Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey. “This meet is a great opportunity for us to show that we’re really starting to put things together.”

The KU women’s team will be lead by seniors Rebeka Stow and Kara Windisch, who were KU’s top two finishers at the Roy Griak Invitational three weeks ago. The women’s team’s success will be dependent on KU’s next three runners; senior Cori Christensen and juniors Kyra Kilwein and Tessa Turcotte.

“The key with the women is our three through five runners have to stay together,” explained Whittlesey. “Cori (Christensen), Kyra (Kilwein) and Tessa (Turcotte) really need to execute well together and stay within 20-25 seconds of our leaders and if we do that then we’ll have a really good meet this weekend.”

Also competing at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course will be senior Kathleen Thompson, sophomore Natalie Becker and freshman Regan Allen.

The Jayhawk men’s team will be led by junior Zach Zarda who has paced the team in both races he has competed in so far this season. Others expected to join Zarda in the top of the men’s pack are senior Austin Bussing, junior Josh Baden and sophomore Jose Muñoz.

“I think the whole men’s team has been doing great,” said Whittlesey. “The whole pack has really been running well together and that’s the key for our success this week. If we can have five guys together with 800 meters to go then we can really do some damage on Friday.”

Other runners hoping to score for the KU men’ team will be sophomore Josh Munsch and freshmen James Wilson, Emilio Trujillo and Reid Buchannan.

Friday’s event will give the Jayhawks their second test against a large and competitive field this season. Three weeks ago, they ran in the Roy Griak Invitational with the men and women finishing 15th and 14th, respectively. The coaches are hoping the younger runners gained valuable experience from that meet, which they will apply to the meet in Madison this weekend.

“What everyone learned in that meet was the difficulties of getting out in the race and the importance of getting out strong,” concluded Whittlesey. “We’ve got to find ourselves as a team and as a group right off the bat and execute through the beginning. There are going to be a slew of people the whole race no matter where you are so it’s going to be very important to keep your confidence for the entire race.”

The women’s 6K is set to begin at 1 p.m., while the men’s 8k will kick-off at 1:40 p.m. Check out kuathletics.com for results and a recap of the day’s events.