Big 12 Championship awaits Kansas cross country
The Kansas men will look to improve on last season’s fourth place finish at the Big 12 Championship
|Big 12 Championship|
|Saturday, October 28|
|9 a.m. CDT – Men’s 8K|
|10 a.m. CDT – Women’s 6K|
|Old Settlers Park|
|Live Stream ($)|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas junior Sharon Lokedi has an opportunity to do something that has only been done by three runners in the history of Big 12 women’s cross country as she looks to repeat as the Big 12 individual champion on October 28 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, Texas. The Kansas men’s and women’s teams will compete in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday, starting with the men’s 8K race at 9 a.m., followed by the women’s 6K at 10 a.m. The meet will be available to stream live via FloTrack.org.
If Lokedi is able to repeat this year, she would be the first female runner to win multiple Big 12 championships since Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech, who won three-straight titles from 2006-08. Prior to Kipyego, Colorado runners Kara Grgas-Wheeler (1999, 2000) and Molly Austin (2001, 2002) were the only females to win multiple individual titles.
Lokedi’s win in 2016 marked the first individual conference championship in Kansas women’s cross country history, and was the first individual conference title by a Jayhawk since Colby Wissel in 2008. If Lokedi is able to win her second conference crown, she would join a short list of Kansas all-time greats that were able to win multiple conference titles. Just eight Jayhawks have won more than one league cross country title; Fred Rodkey (Missouri Valley – 1914, 1915), Poco Frazier (Missouri Valley – 1927, 1928), Glenn Cunningham (Big Six – 1931, 1932), Bob Karnes (Big Seven – 1948, 1949), Herb Semper (Big Seven – 1950, 1951), Wes Santee (Big Seven – 1952, 1953), Al Frame (Big Seven – 1954, 1955) and Benson Chesang (Big 12 – 2004, 2005).
“She has to know she is one of the best runners out there and run like she knows she can,” assistant coach Michael Whittlesey said of what it will take for Lokedi to repeat as Big 12 Champion. “Sharon has looked the strongest and the fastest I have ever seen her at this point. She needs to run her race to take care of business. If she runs someone else’s race, that leaves the door open for somebody else to dictate and control the outcome.”
Lokedi and the Jayhawk women will face tough competition, as Iowa State comes in ranked No. 23 in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll. The Cyclones will be looking to repeat at women’s team champions and to win their sixth Big 12 title in seven seasons. The Kansas women finished sixth at last year’s conference meet.
The Kansas men will have their work cut out for themselves, as three conference teams are ranked in the top-30. No. 10-ranked Oklahoma State will be looking to win their 10th-consecutive title, while No. 23 Iowa State and No. 24 Texas will add to the competitive men’s race. The Jayhawk men took fourth place last season at the Big 12 Championship, marking their highest team finish since also placing fourth in 2012.
“Workouts have been great the last two weeks across the board,” Whittlesey said of the Jayhawks’ preparation for the championship meet. “If we really stick to the plan that we have set and execute that plan, we will get really good results from both the men’s and women’s teams. We have to close the door at the end and compete better than everyone else at the end of the race.”
Following the Big 12 Championship, Kansas will have nearly two weeks to prepare for its next competition, the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on Friday, November 10. The meet will be hosted by Iowa State at the ISU Cross Country Course in Ames, Iowa.