Jayhawks look to earn NCAA Championship bid at Midwest Regional

NCAA Midwest Regional Championships
Date Friday, November 11
Time Women (6K) – 11 a.m. (CT)
Men (10K) – 12 p.m. (CT)
Location Iowa City, Iowa
Stadium Ashton Cross Country Course
Notes Course Maps: 6K | 10K
Stats Wayzata Timing
Meet Central
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas cross country teams will compete in the 2016 NCAA Midwest Regional this Friday, Nov. 11, at Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa. The Jayhawks are aiming to qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held in Terre Haute, Indiana on Nov. 12. The KU women will try to outdo their fifth-place finish at last year’s regional meet while the men strive to build off of their fourth-place finish at the Big 12 Championship last month.
The women’s 6K race will kick of the day, starting at 11 a.m. The starting gun for the men’s 10K is set to go off at noon. It has been 10 years since the men’s team qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2006. With the team’s depth and experience, they are hoping this will be the year they return. The women’s team finished 27th at the 2015 NCAA Championships, but with such strong veteran leadership they have a good chance to improve.
The women continue to be led by sophomore All-American Sharon Lokedi, who is coming off of an individual victory at the Big 12 Championship meet. The team’s key to success will rely on their ability to compete together as a team.
“The purpose of the regional meet is for us to try to qualify for the NCAA Championship, and we have to have a total team effort to do that,” head coach Stanley Redwine said. “It just can’t be a one-person deal with Sharon to perform well. The goal is to go as a team and hopefully we can do that.”
With so many moving parts, it can be tough to get everyone on the same page at the same time.
“Everyone has to have their good meet on that one day,” Redwine explained. “It just seems like so far that one person’s been off a little bit, then another person’s been off the next time. But everyone has been training well together right now. They’re showing it and starting to run better together in practice, so we just need for that to happen at the meet.”
The depth on the men’s side is evenly spread, making it so anyone could be the team’s top runner on any given day. Junior Chris Melgares has been the team’s top runner in two meets this season, with senior James Hampton leading the way two weekends ago at the league meet in Lubbock. At the Big 12 Championship, the men were able to put all the pieces together and position themselves in a tight pack, resulting in seven Jayhawks placing in the top-50.
“The men have been running well together and we’re looking forward to them doing that again,” Redwine said. “The little unknown is how they will react to running a 10K versus an 8K. Hopefully their confidence is there to be able to go out and continue to run well together so that we can try and get an outside bid at making it to the championship.”
The Jayhawks will compete against 14 other teams in the Midwest region, including three Big 12 teams (Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Oklahoma). The top-two teams from each of the nine regions will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Terre Haute, Indiana at the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. An additional 13 at-large teams will receive berths to the meet. Those selections are expected to be announced Monday, Nov. 14. Furthermore, four individual athletes from each region who finish in the top-25 (not part of a qualifying team) will also be chosen to compete at the championships. The NCAA committee will then choose two final individuals at-large.
Following the NCAA Midwest Regional, if the Jayhawks or any individual Kansas runners qualify for the NCAA Championships, they will head to Terre Haute, Indiana to compete on Saturday, Nov. 19.
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