👟 A Pair of Top-Five Finishes Lead the Way for Kansas at Pre-Nationals Invite
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at Pre-Nationals Invite in Charlottesville, Va this morning, as seniors Chandler Gibbens and Lona Latema led the way with top-five finishes.
The men’s team started their race, the Blue Championship 8K race, at 8:40 a.m. CT this morning. Throughout the race, Gibbens was in the leader’s pack, pacing from first to sixth. In the final kilometer, Gibbens pushed forward for a fourth-place finish and a time of 23:09.6, nearly surpassing his personal-best of 23:08.4, which he set two weeks ago at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational.
“Chandler had a solid race today, reacted to a move earlier in the race that he normally does which backfired a little on him today,” said Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey. “Each race we can learn from as we are getting into championship races. The men’s team needs to do a better job running in our packs. We had several individual races instead of a team race. If we get that group together like we did in Nebraska, we will be good moving forward.”
Tanner Newkirk finished in the top-100 for the fourth time this season by placing 73rd with a time of 24:21.6, followed by Tanner Talley in 88th with a time of 24:29.0. Rounding out the top-100 finished for the Jayhawks was Cale Littrell who placed 99th with a time of 24:31.9.
The men placed 15th overall with 374 points as a team, finishing above Washington State, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Arizona, among others.
The best finish of the day came from Latema, who placed second overall in the Women’s Orange 6K race. She ran to a time of 20:46.2, beating the next runner by seven seconds. Kenadi Krueger was the next Jayhawk to finish, claiming a 15th-place finish with a time of 21:11.2. Tori Wingrove also placed in the top-50, as she finished 33rd at 21:42.1.
“Lona had a very solid race today. She is coming off an illness from last week and I am proud of her competitiveness today,” added Whittlesey. “We had several people step up today. We sent Kenadi out faster today and she did a really good job competing in that group. Tori had a big race for herself today and it was set up by great teamwork with Addie and Abi. We fell a few points short of being second and we need to hold our position over the last 2K with our group. It was a very good step forward for the women’s squad from last week.”
There were numerous personal-bests for the women today, as Addie Coppinger, Makenna Anderson, Caroline Burrow and Laya Erickson all topped their previous personal-bests. The women placed fifth-overall as a team with 150 points.
Kansas will move into postseason competition as they are set to compete in the Big 12 Championship on October 28, hosted by Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.