Kansas women slotted 21st in USTFCCCA preseason rankings
NEW ORLEANS – For the first time in nearly two decades, the Kansas women’s cross country team finds itself ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation after the Jayhawks checked in at No. 21 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason rankings released Tuesday. Kansas opens the 2016 season Saturday, Sept. 3 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence.
The No. 21 Kansas women enter the season with perhaps the highest expectations in program history. The Jayhawks return the bulk of the roster that qualified for the NCAA Championships last season, including All-American Sharon Lokedi. Lokedi comes into her second season with the cross country team as one of the early favorites for a Big 12 title and perhaps an NCAA title as well. The sophomore posted a 10th-place finish at the national meet last year, the highest finish ever by a KU female at the NCAA Championships.
Lokedi will be joined by a veteran-laden team which will see the return of All-Big 12 and All-Region performer, senior Hannah Richardson, who was sidelined each of the last two seasons due to injury. A strong supporting cast will consist of seniors Nashia Baker, Courtney Coppinger and Rachel Simon, each of whom are back after making huge strides a year ago. A host of other Jayhawks are primed to emerge and could make this year’s KU women’s squad one of the deepest in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks’ top-25 ranking marks its first since the squad was tabbed at No. 15 midway through the 1998 campaign.
Saturday’s Bob Timmons Classic at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence is one of two home meets for Kansas this year. The Jayhawks also host the Rim Rock Classic on their home course on Saturday, Oct. 1.
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