Wissel Crowned Big 12 Cross Country Champion
Oct. 27, 2006
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Junior Colby Wissel captured the men’s individual Big 12 title at the 2006 Big 12 Cross Country Championships Friday at Rim Rock Farm. The Elm Creek, Neb. native overcame the blustery conditions to finish the 8k race in 24:34 and helped guide the Kansas men’s team to a third-place finish. The women’s squad placed 11th behind a 45th-place finish from junior Lisa Morrisey.
Wissel, who earned All-Big 12 honors by placing 10th at the 2005 championships, blazed past Texas senior Joe Thorne in the final 1,000 meters of the race to give KU its third-straight individual conference champion. The victory marked Wissel’s second of the season and vaults the junior into illustrious company with other Kansas conference champions like Wes Santee, Billy Mills, Herb Semper and Al Frame.
“As the race progressed, I was always in contention with the lead, but I was never doing the work the leaders were doing,” Wissel said. “When we got up to the Jim Ryun Skyline, I knew I was in the race and decided to go for it.”
“Coming down the hill, I knew it was go time and I just threw it down and went for it. It was a great feeling. I was overcome by all the hard work that the team put into this season and the practices we’ve spent here.”
Junior Paul Hefferon was the next KU finisher, placing fourth in a time of 24:41.1. The Overland Park, Kan. native repeated as All-Big 12 with the performance. Senior Benson Chesang, the defending back-to-back champion, placed 12th, good for third on the team in a time of 24:57.1. Seniors Matt French and Tyler Kelly rounded out the Jayhawks top five runners, placing 33rd and 34th, respectively, in times of 25:40.7 and 25:42.6. The Jayhawks finished third overall for the second-consecutive year with 82 points. Colorado won its 11th-straight conference title with 36 points while Texas finished second with 80 points.
Controversy mired the race as an Oklahoma State runner was disqualified after the completion of the race for unsportsmanlike conduct. Before the disqualification, Texas and Kansas had been tied for second at 82 points. However, Texas wound up alone in second because they had four runners finish after the disqualified runner while Kansas had only two.
“This was the most physical cross country race I’ve been a part of in a long time,” Hefferon added. “The entire race people were jostling for position, especially with the front pack being as big as it was and being together for so long. I had some people trying to bump me, so I had to get physical back. That’s all a part of the race. It’s about having a competitive attitude and if you don’t have that, you are not going to do well.”
The women’s team placed 11th overall, scoring 287 points. Morrisey led all KU runners with a 45th-place finish in a time of 22:48.89. She was followed by junior Alicia McGregor, who placed 57th (23:13.8), and freshman Lauren Bonds, who finished 58th (23:17.62). Juniors Melissa O’Rourke (68th, 23:33.58) and Melissa Moody (71st, 23:40.28) rounded out the Jayhawks’ top five runners.
Colorado won for the 10th time in the 11-year history of the Big 12 Conference, scoring 45 points. Texas Tech University followed in second with 64 and Nebraska earned third with 110. Texas Tech Sophomore Sally Kipyego won the women’s 6k event in a time of 20:00.82.
“It was a good race and we set a good pace in the first mile. After that, I picked it up and finished strong,” McGregor said. “Individually, I thought we ran well, but as a team we were disappointed with where we finished. That will serve as motivation for Midwest regionals, where we know we’ll need to pack up more at the front.”
Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine was thrilled with the day’s action.
+1″It was very exciting for Colby and the rest of the team. It is always great to have the race winner, especially at home,” Redwine said. “One thing that Coach Clark and I stressed was that we wanted them to fight all the way through the finish and every one of them had a great race at the end. I would say that the guy who was the most mentally and physically prepared won today. Colby was both of those and was ready for the opportunity.”
“I thought the women ran as hard as they could and to the best of their ability. They are young team and we need to do some work to get us where I want us to be. Their efforts were good, but the team’s placing wasn’t where I wanted it.”
Up next for the Jayhawks will be the Midwest Regional Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., on Nov. 11. Both squads will be battling for vital points to qualify for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 20 in Terre Haute, Ind. Stay tuned to kuathletics.com for all the results.
1. Colorado 36
2. Texas 80
3. Kansas 82
4. Oklahoma State 108
5. Iowa State 114
6. Missouri 156
7. Texas A&M 196
8. Baylor 234
9. Oklahoma 246
10. Texas Tech 254
11. Nebraska 320
12. Kansas State 331
1. Colorado 45
2. Texas Tech 64
3. Nebraska 110
4. Oklahoma State 120
5. Baylor 121
6. Texas A&M 147
7. Missouri 169
8. Oklahoma 172
9. Iowa State 247
10. Texas 280
11. Kansas 287
12. Kansas State 290
Click Here for Complete Men’s Results
Click Here for Complete Women’s Results