Cross Country Gears Up for Regionals

Nov. 8, 2006

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

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Fresh off its performances at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships, the University of Kansas cross country teams head to Minnesota to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regionals Saturday. The meet marks the men’s first 10k of the season while the women will run a 6k race at the same course the teams competed on at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 23.

The men, who placed third at the meet last season, will look to improve upon their performance as they are currently ranked No. 1 in the region according to USTFCCA’s rankings. All five Jayhawk runners who earned all-region recognition return for the event, led by junior Colby Wissel, the 2006 Big 12 Men’s Individual champion. At last year’s meet the Elm Creek, Neb., native placed 15th in a time of 31:26.

Junior Paul Hefferon was the team’s top finisher last year, placing eighth in 31:10. Senior Benson Chesang notched an 11th-place finish at the event last year in a time of 31:22. Seniors Erik Sloan and Tyler Kelly round out the 2005 all-region honorees, as they placed 18th and 22nd respectively.

The women’s squad looks to rebound from their 11th-place finish at the 2006 Big 12 Cross Country Championships. The team placed 11th at the regional meet last year among 23 squads and are led junior Lisa Morrisey, who placed 43rd at the meet last year. Juniors Alicia McGregor and Hayley Harbert also return to the meet for the Jayhawk women, as they placed 82nd and 88th respectively.

The meet holds substantial value in the teams’ quest to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The top-two finishers at the region earn automatic bids to the championships. The rest of the field is comprised of at-large bids, which is how the KU men qualified last year when they placed 12th in the nation, the team’s best finish since 1989. The women last qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1994, where they placed 18th. All-region status is awarded to the top 25 runners in each event.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. with the women’s 6k race and will be followed by the men’s 10k race at 12:15 p.m. Stay tuned to kuathletics.com for the all the results.

-KU-