Jayhawks clean house at season-opening Bob Timmons Dual Classic
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A beautiful morning at Rim Rock Farm turned into the perfect day for Kansas cross country in its season-opening Bob Timmons Dual Classic meet. Facing off against the likes of UMKC and Oral Roberts, the Jayhawk men’s and women’s teams took a clean sweep in the dual-scoring format.
The men’s 6K race started things off Saturday morning, and the Jayhawks were ready to go when the starting gun fired. A tight first half of the race saw a number of KU runners leading the pack and things didn’t change as the competitors moved through the course and started to spread out. Senior Ben Burchstead was the top collegiate finisher in the race with a time of 19:10.2, and sophomore Avery Hale came in right behind the senior with a time of 19:12.5. The Jayhawks took four of the top-five scoring spots overall, with senior Carson Vickroy (19:17.8) finishing third for Kansas, junior Jack McDonald (19:20.9) coming in fourth for the team, and redshirt freshman George Letner (19:29.7) taking the last scoring spot.
“Walking away with a win was the focus and they did a good job of that,” assistant coach Michael Whittlesey said. “I wanted our guys to be packed up better, there were times where our front two-to-five were close together, but never really worked together after the first male and that was kind of our goal. Looking at our spread, it was a good spread time-wise, but I think we could have ran even faster, but overall I think they did a really nice job.”
Much like the men, the Kansas women took four of the top five scoring positions in the 5K race. The Jayhawks stayed fairly tight together the majority of the race, except for junior Alaina Schroeder who broke away from the pack to stay close to UMKC’s Sarah Fogarty. Trailing the leader with about 1,000 meters to go, Schroeder used a late kick to propel herself into contention for first, but clocked in just one second after Fogarty for a time of 18:04.6 to finish second in the race.
The winner of the 2016 Bob Timmons Classic women’s race, Hannah Dimmick, was Kansas’ second scorer, finishing in third place with a time of 18:22.8. KU’s next three runners all finished within 10 seconds of each other, with redshirt freshman Catherine Liggett (18:29.4), redshirt sophomore Lauren Harrell (18:31.0) and sophomore Riley Cooney (18:39.4) rounding out the scoring for the Jayhawks.
“The women did a great job running as a pack,” Whittlesey said. “They stayed together through the first two miles and that’s exactly what we talked about. They did a great job of really focusing on that. They were running a solid five people together all through the first two miles and the spread over the last mile didn’t become that big, so I thought they did a really nice job and competed really well.”
Kansas has nearly a month to continue to get better before the next meet, the Rim Rock Classic, which is set for September 30. The meet is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with the women’s 6K race, followed by the men’s 8K at 10 a.m.