Lokedi leads Jayhawks with 8th place finish at Pre-Nationals
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the 2017 Pre-National Invitational at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, where two-time All-American, junior Sharon Lokedi led the women’s team with an eighth-place finish in the women’s 6K seeded race. Lokedi’s performance helped the Jayhawk women to a 29th-place finish overall. The Kansas men placed 40th in the 8K seeded race.
Lokedi stayed near the front of the pack from start to finish in her season debut. Through the first 2,000 meters, Lokedi sat in fifth with a split of 6:31.7, but moved up to second at the 4K mark with a split of 13:09.2. Lokedi dropped back to third in the next 1,000 meters with a 5K time of 16:28.9, before ultimately falling back to eighth in the final 1K to finish with a time of 20:00.9. Her final time shaved 25.4 seconds off her 2016 Pre-National time where she finished 10th overall.
“I’m very pleased with Sharon’s first race of the year,” head coach Stanley Redwine said. “Eighth overall in a loaded field for her first race isn’t bad. We expect her to continue to improve as she gets into race shape.”
Redshirt junior Alaina Schroeder was the next highest KU finisher in the women’s race (80th) with a time of 21:01.2. Senior Hannah Dimmick (190th) clocked in at 22:04.6 and redshirt sophomore Lauren Harrell (193rd) finished in 22:05.8. Freshman Alexys Barton (238th) rounded out the scoring for the women’s team with a time of 22:42.1.
Junior Michael Melgares lead the men through their challenging day as the first Jayhawk to finish in the seeded 8K race. Melgares placed 111th out of the 282 competitors, clocking in a time of 24:34.5. Completing the scoring for the men were freshman Chace Hale (216th) with a time of 5:26.1, senior Ben Burchstead (223rd, 25:27.7), senior Carson Vickroy (238th, 25:35.4) and junior Avery Hale (262nd, 26:06.4).
“Unfortunately, we had two guys fall in their race,” Redwine said. “Having to recover from falling and compete against the nation’s best wasn’t to our favor.”
Following the seeded races, freshman Jack Young and redshirt freshman Bryce Hoppel competed in the men’s unseeded 8K race for the Jayhawks, placing 143rd (26:24.6) and 172nd (26:55.8), respectively.
“I expected both teams to place better,” Redwine said. “We will have to get healthy and stay focused throughout the whole race to place better at Big 12’s.”
The Jayhawks will have two weeks to prepare for the Big 12 Championship, which will take place on Saturday, October 28 in Round Rock, Texas. The men’s 8K race will start off the day at 9 a.m. CDT followed by the women’s 6K starting at 10 a.m.