Buchanan, Thompson Pace Jayhawks in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. Sophomore Reid Buchanan collected a 74th-place finish and led the Kansas men’s cross country team to a 20th-place finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational Friday afternoon. Senior Kathleen Thompson was the top Jayhawk finisher on the women’s side and led the group to finish 47th. Both the men’s and women’s races featured over 300 runners and many of the top-ranked teams in the nation.
“I felt both teams really put themselves into a hole early in their races,” assistant cross country coach Michael Whittlesey said following the meet. “We definitely had good efforts out there but in a meet of this size, that’s a lot of bodies you have to fight through if you fall behind early. The results were not where we felt they could’ve been today.”
Buchanan, who hails from Manhattan, Kan., was the top finisher on the men’s side for the first time in his Kansas career. The sophomore was joined by senior Donny Wasinger and freshman Gabe Gonzalez for the majority of the 8K race before a strong closing kick earned Buchanan the highest KU finish. Buchanan clocked in at 24:08 to finish 74th overall but was followed closely by Wasinger, who finished seven seconds later at 24:15, placing 95th. Redshirt freshman Gabe Gonzalez was the third KU finisher, crossing the finish line in 100th-place with a time of 24:16.
“I thought Reid did a really good job today,” explained Whittlesey. “He, Donny and Gabe worked well together throughout the race and they just kept fighting. Reid had a fantastic kick down the final 400 meters that put him ahead of the other two but I was pleased with how all three performed today.”
The men continued their season-long trend of closing out the race with a compact lead pack with the top-five finishers placing within 19 seconds of one another. Closing out the front five were sophomores James Wilson, placing 137th and finishing in 24:26 and Evan Landes, who traversed the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in 24:27 to finish 139th.
In all, the men’s team amassed 526 points to finish 20th in the 45-team field and beat several teams that are currently ranked in the nation’s top-30.
“It was still a good result despite some poor execution on the men’s side,” said Whittlesey.”We definitely have some things we can build upon after today’s race but we need to be more focused on our game plan before the conference meet.”
The KU women were also able to keep a tight pack as their front-four finishers placed 30 seconds apart. Kathleen Thompson led the women’s squad for the first time in her four-year career, coming in 193rd with a 6K time of 21:20. Kyra Kilwein, who led the KU women in her their first two outings this season, was the next Jayhawk to cross the finish line. The Lawrence, Kan., native finished in 205th and clocked in at 21:24.
“Kathleen ran the best race of her career today,” Whittlesey explained. “She stayed aggressive and looked strong through the early part of the race. Kyra came on late and closed the race nicely as well.”
Freshman Hannah Richardson was in the KU women’s top-three for the third time this season, as she finished 236th with a time of 21:38. Rounding out the women’s scoring was senior Tessa Turcotte (21:50) in 262nd, junior Natalie Becker (22:14) in 296th and sophomore Liza Tauscher (23:04) in 316th.
The women’s squad collected 1,119 points to finish 47th in the teams standings.
The Jayhawk cross country teams will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 27, in Austin, Texas, for the Big 12 Championships.
“Both teams just need to execute the race plan much better at the early part of the race,” concluded Whittlesey. “We need to continue to build our confidence and if we do that we could so some good things at the Big 12 meet in two weeks.”
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