Jayhawks set to face tough competition at Pre-Nationals

Junior Sharon Lokedi looks to pace the women’s team at Saturday’s Pre-National meet. 

 Meet 3: Pre-National Invitational
  Saturday, October 14
  9 a.m. CDT – Men’s ‘Red’ 8K
  9:45 a.m. CDT – Women’s ‘Red’ 6K
  10:30 a.m. CDT – Men’s ‘Black’ 8K
  11:15 a.m. CDT – Women’s ‘Black’ 6K
  8K Course Map
  6K Course Map
  University of Louisville
  E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer State Park
  Live Stream ($)
  Live Results


LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the 2017 Pre-National Invitational on Saturday, October 14 at E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer State Park.
The Jayhawks will face the toughest competition they have seen so far this season, with a number of nationally-ranked teams traveling to Louisville for Saturday’s races. On the women’s side, the Jayhawks will face nine top-30 ranked teams, including four of the top 10 teams in the nation with No. 1 Colorado, No. 2 Oregon, No. 4 Michigan and No. 9 Arkansas all competing. On the men’s side, eight of the top 30 teams will be racing, including No. 2 BYU, No. 5 Arkansas, No. 7 Colorado and No. 8 Oregon.
The Jayhawks closed out their home season with the Rim Rock Classic on September 30th, where both teams placed second, giving the Jayhawks two weeks to prepare for the upcoming meet.
“The guys have to keep working together as much as they can throughout the entire race,” said assistant coach Michael Whittlesey. “We’re going to let Michael (Melgares) be a little more aggressive this meet than he was last meet, but those front four guys behind him really need to do a great job of packing together and working together throughout the entire race.”
At the 2016 Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Kansas men placed 21st while the women finished 13th. Saturday will be the first time for junior Sharon Lokedi to compete this season, but she is expected to lead the women’s team again after placing 10th in the 6K at last season’s Pre-Nationals.
“The whole group is doing a lot better,” Whittlesey said. “We’ve been a lot more aggressive with some of our workouts the last two weeks, the competiveness is there right now. It’s about getting that next three to four on the women’s side really running well together and staying focused throughout the entire race.”
Saturday’s invitational will consist of a total of four races. The men’s ‘red’ 8K will begin the day at 9 a.m. CDT, with the women’s ‘red’ 6K race following at 9:45 a.m. Following the ‘red’ races will be the men’s ‘black’ 8K race at 10:30 a.m., with the women’s ‘black’ 6K race concluding the day at 11:15 a.m.
“For several of them this is their first Pre Nat’s,” Whittlesey said. “Running in the big race for both of the men and women, being in a field this size, it’s a new experience and we have to execute really well in this race to perform well.”
Following the Pre-National Invitational, the Jayhawks will travel to Round Rock, Texas to compete in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday, October 28, where Lokedi will look to repeat as the women’s individual champion. The Kansas men finished fourth and the women placed sixth at last year’s conference meet.



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