KU Men Take Fourth at Big 12 Cross Country Championships
Austin, Texas – The University of Kansas men’s cross country team claimed a fourth-place finish Saturday morning at the Big 12 Championships held at Jimmy Clay Golf Course. The men, who amassed 121 points as a team, earned the highest conference finish since the 2006. The KU women collected 173 points to finish seventh overall.
“I thought the men performed really well today,” said head coach Stanley Redwine following the race. “It was great to see how they competed together. When one started falling back another picked it up and really kept the team going. We’re very excited about the fourth-place finish.”
Led by sophomore Evan Landes the Jayhawk men placed all seven of their scoring runners within the top-35, a first for the team at the Big 12 Championships. In a field that featured five teams ranked in the top-30 in the nation the men’s pack held its own through the first 2 miles of the 8k race. Senior Donny Wasinger, sophomores Reid Buchanan and James Wilson and Landes kept the men’s group in the front of a lead group that included as many as 40 runners. As the lead pack began to separate over the next 2 kilometers the Jayhawks began taking turns with the team lead. Wasinger and Buchanan powered through the middle part of the race with Landes coming on strong over the final three kilometers.
“I thought the guys ran really tough today,” said assistant coach Michael Whittlesey. “We knew it was going to be a battle with those five teams that are nationally ranked. Josh Baden had a great race, Evan Landes really had a phenomenal race, stepping up and being our top runner. Donny Wasinger kept fighting throughout. Reid (Buchanan) and James (Wilson) kept feeding off each other, and so did Josh Munsch and Gabe Gonzalez.”
Landes, who hails from Mulvane, Kan., crossed the finish in 24:27 to notch a 17th-place finish, just two spots from earning All-Big 12 honors. The finish makes the sophomore the fourth different Jayhawk to be the men’s top finisher this season. Wasinger was next to finish, crossing the finish line in 21st with a time of 24:34, making him a top-40 finisher in each of his four conference championship races.
Claiming a 25th-place finish was Buchanan, who clocked in with a time of 24:40 while also finishing in KU’s top-four for the fourth time this season. Wilson wasn’t far behind as he put in 24:50 on the clock and placed 30th overall. Senior Josh Baden and junior Josh Munsch were next to complete the 8k loop, finishing back-to-back at 33rd and 34th, respectively. Baden clocked in at 24:53 with Munsch timing in at 24:57. Rounding out the men’s top-seven finishers was freshman Gabe Gonzalez. He traversed the Jimmy Clay Course in 24:58 to finish 35th.
The men’s team amassed 121 points on the day to finish fourth, there best finish in six years at the league meet.
The women’s team was led by senior Kyra Kilwein, who was the top KU finisher for the third time this season. Like the men’s race, the KU women’s pack held with the front-runners through the majority of the first 2k. Kilwein and freshman Hannah Richardson were the top two runners on the day for KU with Kilwein using a strong kick down the final kilometer to take top honors for the Jayhawks.
Kilwein was the 21st finisher overall, notching a 6K time of 21:40. Richardson was just over a second back as she placed 24th and posted a time of 21:41 in her first Big 12 Championship meet. The duo’s finish marked the second-straight season the women’s team placed two Jayhawks in the top-25.
“The (women’s) team got out a little too fast,” Whittlesey explained. “Position-wise I thought we were good but the first 1,000 meters we were too fast and I think that paid a toll in the middle and back of our group. Some people fought pretty tough in there. Hannah (Richardson) ran really well as a freshman and being our No. 2, but we still have some work to do.”
Kansas’ third finisher was senior Kathleen Thompson, who crossed the finish in 42nd place with a time of 22:16 in her third and final conference race. Senior Tessa Turcotte was less than a second behind her teammate as she claimed 43rd overall and clocked in at 22:16.
Junior Natalie Becker, sophomore Liza Tauscher and senior Devin Wiegers rounded out the women’s team scoring with Becker taking 60th overall with a time of 22:53. Tauscher added to the women’s conference scoring effort for the second time, finishing the race in 23:04 and placing 63rd, while Wiegers finished next at 64th and posting a time of 23:08.
The women’s squad collected 173 points to finish seventh in the team standings.
Kansas will now have two weeks to prepare for the NCAA Midwest Regional to be held on Friday, Nov. 9 in Springfield, Mo. The women’s 6k will kick off the day at noon, while the men’s 10K is slated to begin at 1:15 p.m. For a complete recap and results from the day’s events log on to KUAthletics.com and follow on twitter at KU_Track.
“For both the men’s and women’s teams to do well (at the Regional meet) we need to have a total team effort.” Redwine concluded. “The guys have a really good chance to make it to the NCAA (meet) and for the girls to do it they will need to do something special. So we’re looking for both teams to step up and hopefully make to the NCAAs.”
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