Kansas Cross Country Concludes Season at NCAA Midwest Regionals
Nov. 12, 2011
DeKalb, Ill. – Led by top-35 performances from Rebeka Stowe, Kara Windisch, Austin Bussing and Zach Zarda, the Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams finished eighth and ninth, respectively, at the NCAA Midwest Regional Saturday afternoon at the NIU North Course.
“I think we’re better than what we showed today,” Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey said following the race. “It’s great to see the senior Kara (Windisch) go out on probably her best collegiate race and end things on a high note. It’s tough though, to know there’s still another cross country race this season that we won’t be at.”
Stowe, who hails from Olathe, Kan., finished 20th overall (21:38.86) giving the senior her second-consecutive top-20 finish at the Midwest Regional meet. Fellow senior Windisch was not far behind, finishing 21st (21:39.61) and notching the highest regional finish of the Overland Park, Kan., native’s career. For finishing in the top 25, the duo earned All-Region honors, marking just the second-time in the Stanley Redwine era two KU women were members of the All-Region team.
“We (Stowe and Windisch) have been working really hard, so it’s great to see that anyone can do it if they really work at it,” Windisch said. “The key for me was getting out fast and I think I did really well with that today. I was working with Stowe and just trying to keep up with her as long as I could and it worked out well for me.”
Bussing, a senior out of Houston, Texas, concluded his outstanding KU cross country career with a 32nd-place finish (32:07.40) to lead the KU men. The finish marked the third-consecutive race Bussing has led his team this year and a nearly 50-place improvement from his finish at last year’s Regional race.
“The men got out in a really good position at the start,” explained Whittlesey. “The pace was comfortable and it didn’t really pick up until the second half of the race. I thought our pack did a really good job moving along in the middle part of the race, too.”
On the women’s side, KU’s next three finishers after Stowe and Windisch were junior Tessa Turcotte (22:38.68), who placed 64th, senior Cori Christensen (22:42.47), who crossed the finish line in 72nd and junior Kyra Kilwein (22:47.34), coming in 78th. The women’s team would go on to score 255 points to finish ninth overall in the team standings.
For the men, junior Zach Zarda (32:12.17) was KU’s No. 2 finisher, coming in at 34th. Fellow junior Josh Baden (32:16.15), who stuck with the overall leaders for much of the race, would end his day in 38th. The men’s team saw three runners in the top-40 of the Regional meet for the first time since 2006.
Sophomore Josh Munsch (32:49.11) and freshman Reid Buchanan (32:50.10) would round out the men’s scoring with a 58th-place and 59th-place finish, respectively. The team would eventually finish eighth in the team standings with 219 points.
Oklahoma State took the regional team title, with Oklahoma also advancing to the NCAA Championships with a runner-up finish. The Iowa State women advanced to Terre Haute after earning the team championship at the NIU North 40 Course. Oklahoma State finished second in the women’s race and will join their Big 12 brethren, the Cyclones, at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21.
The NCAA Midwest Regional completes the 2011 season for Kansas cross country. The Jayhawk runners will now join their fellow track and field athletes at practice next week to begin preparing for the upcoming indoor season.
“We can do a lot of damage on the indoor track this year,” concluded Whittlesey. “There’s an awful lot of talent with our middle distance and distance runners, so we just have to believe that we can get to the level I know we’re capable of. It should be a fun season on the track.”