Jayhawks prepped for Midwest Regional
Sharon Lokedi will aim to qualify for her third-straight NCAA Championship meet.
|NCAA Midwest Regional|
|Friday, November 10|
|10:45 a.m. CST – Women’s 6K|
|11:45 a.m. CST – Men’s 10K|
|6K Course Map|
|10K Course Map|
|ISU Cross Country Course|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Ames, Iowa to compete in the 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional on Friday, November 10, at the ISU Cross Country Course. The Midwest Regional will be a proving ground for the Jayhawks, as they look to qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held in Louisville, Kentucky on November 18.
The festivities will start at 10:45 a.m. CST with the women’s 6K race, followed the men’s 10K at 11:45 a.m. Junior Sharon Lokedi, coming off an individual Big 12 title, will look to improve on her second-place finish at last year’s regional and qualify for the national meet for the third-straight season. The women’s team will look to return to the big stage after making the NCAA Championships in 2015, finishing 27th overall. The Kansas men will aim to end an 11-year drought at NCAAs, last qualifying in 2006.
Lokedi’s Big 12 title marked the second year in a row she took home the conference crown, making her just the fourth female in Big 12 history to win multiple individual titles.
Though Lokedi’s performance will play a role in the overall success of the women’s team, assistant coach Michael Whittlesey knows it’s the rest of the pack that will be the determining factor of the team’s achievements, starting with junior Alaina Schroeder, who earned All-Big 12 honors at the conference meet with an 11th-place finish.
“She ran a really good race (at the conference meet),” Whittlesey said of Schroeder. “She went out in the front 10-to-15, and let it go a little in the second of three laps, but then fought back after fading to 16th at one point to climb her way back to 11th.
“We need to continue to pack our three-through-five runners together,” Whittlesey continued. “It was Catherine Liggett’s first race in a month coming back from an injury, so her fitness is coming around and Riley Cooney has been gutting it out battling a minor injury most of the year. I am pleased with what they have been able to do. Both of those girls are feeling a lot better this week, so we should look a lot better. We need to pack, we need to have those girls stay up with Hannah Dimmick, and continue to move Hannah up a few spots. If we can we can do that, we are poised to have a great race.”
The men’s team, which has been plagued with nagging injuries and illnesses all season, is looking to put together a clean meet and hopes to see results they have been looking for all year.
“The guys have to continue to learn how to execute a race together,” Whittlesey said. “They have to learn to execute and find those other teams that we are trying to beat in a bigger field. I thought we were doing a good job at conference, but when the move happened we were on the back side of it trying to react to it, rather than on the inside trying to move with it. We need to do a much better job of being in the move, with the move, and not trying to react after it happens.”
The top-two teams from each of the nine regions will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships. An additional 13 at-large teams will receive berths to the meet. Those selections are expected to be announced Monday, November 13. 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.
If the Jayhawks or any individual runners qualify for the NCAA Championships, they will run at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, November 18.