2007 Kansas Cross Country Wrap Up

Dec. 6, 2007


Despite neither team qualifying for the NCAA Championships, Kansas cross country had a solid season with 12 Jayhawks earning All-Big 12 Academic honors and the continued success of seniors Paul Hefferon and Colby Wissel and sophomore Lauren Bonds.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

The <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas men started off the season hot with two team wins. At the Bob Timmons Invitational the Jayhawks won with Colby Wissel winning the individual title with a time of 25:49. Hefferon, who ran with Wissel the entire way, finished one second behind the leader with a time of 25:50. In similar fashion KU also won at the KansasState vs. Kansas Duel as they defeated the Wildcats 21-39. Wissel notched his second victory of the season with a 5K time of 15:07.

Following his performance at the KansasState vs. Kansas Duel, Wissel was named Big 12 Cross Country Runner of the Week for the second time in his career. It was also the fourth time that a Jayhawk has won the award.

In its first big meet of the season, the Kansas men placed 13th out of 23 teams at the 22nd annual Roy Griak Invitational. Wissel and Hefferon led the Jayhawks again by placing 7th (24:42) and 18th (24:55), respectively.

At the Big 12 Championships, Kansas finished seventh with Wissel placing fifth to make the All-Big 12 team for the third consecutive year.

Competing in it’s biggest meet of the season, the Midwest Regional, the team was unable to qualify for nationals as they placed 10th. However, the meet did have bright spots, with Wissel and Hefferon earning all-region honors. Wissel placed fifth to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships.

At Nationals, Wissel placed 39th with a 10K time of 30:36 and was named All-American by virtue of him being one of the top 30 American-born finishers. Wissel was the fifth Jayhawk overall and the first to be named All-American twice since legend Billy Mills did it in 1959.

Five men’s runners were named to the Academic All-Big 12 team. Hefferon, junior Alex Rock and sophomore Dan Van Orsdel were named to the first team. Wissel joined junior Levi Huseman on the All-Big 12 second team.

Kansas loses Wissel, Hefferon, Jason Schweitzer and Patrick McGowan to graduation. However, the Jayhawks will still return a core of runners that contributed this season. Sophomore Brett Imgrund was consistently the third finisher on the team and has a personal best time of 25:02 for the 8K. Freshman Nick Caprario was a welcome addition to the team who scored in all but one meet for Kansas. Van Orsdel stepped up at the end of the season to finish third on the team at the Midwest Regional with a 10K time of 32:11.

The Kansas women, like the men, won the Bob Timmons Invitational to make it a Jayhawk sweep. Bonds highlighted the meet with a third-place finish with a time of 22:52 on the hilly terrain. KU had five runners in the top 15.

Throughout the season Bond solidified her spot as the team’s number one runner as she was the top Jayhawk to cross the finish line at every meet she ran. Bond’s season was highlighted with a personal best 6K time of 21:05 at the Midwest Regionals. Her 25th place performance earned her all-region honors.

Along with Bonds, senior Alicia McGregor was the most consistent Jayhawk runner. McGregor usually placed second with the best time of her career coming in the last meet of her career. She ran a 21:56 while placing 70th at the Midwest Regionals.

Seven women made the Academic All-Big 12 team. Sophomores Clair Hall, Sarah Nackley and Bonds joined senior Lisa Morrisey and junior Megan James on the first team. While senior Hayley Harbert and sophomore Kaitlyn Coen earned a spot on the All-Big 12 second team.

Departing are seniors Morrisey, Harbert and McGregor. Although losing three seniors is tough, the Jayhawks are young with having only one junior, James, on this year’s team.

Freshman Amanda Miller will return to improve on a great first year. Miller finished in the top five on the team in five of the six meets this season. Sophomore Alison Knoll, who finished either fifth or sixth in every meet, had a personal best time of 22:25 at the Midwest Regionals.

Even though both the men and the women will lose key seniors, they have enough young runners that can improve and be ready for next season.