Lokedi travels to Terre Haute to compete in NCAA Championships

NCAA Championships
Date Friday, November 18
Time Women (6K) – 10 a.m. (CT)
Location Terre Haute, Ind.
Stadium LaVern Gipson Championship Course
Notes Course Maps: 6K
Stats Record Timing
Meet Central
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Sharon Lokedi will compete as an individual in the 2016 NCAA Championships this Saturday, Nov. 19, in Terre Haute, Indiana. Lokedi will strive to end her sophomore campaign as a national champion and improve upon her historic performance in the event last year. In the 2015 championship meet, she placed 10th overall to post the best all-time performance by a Kansas female at the championship race.
The Jayhawks ran the Lavern Gibson Championships Cross Country Course last month at the Pre-National Invitational, meaning Lokedi will be somewhat familiar with the loop. Improving her finish from last year’s NCAA meet will add to her already impressive season, which has consisted of a Big 12 Championship title, All-Conference honors and All-Region honors.
Lokedi is eager for this weekend’s big meet. She’s motivated and ready to accomplish her goal.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Lokedi said. “There’s a lot of pressure, but I feel good. Now it’s just about getting my mind ready and focusing on what I have to achieve. I’ve been working hard this whole season and now the end is almost here. It’s time for me to get the results I’ve prepared for.”
With her rigorous training schedule the past several months, there’s not much more that she can do to physically prepare for the competition.
“I’ve done the hard part. I can practice as much as I want, but at this point another practice won’t change much,” Lokedi explained. “I know I’ve trained well and I know that nothing comes easy, but now it’s time for those workouts to pay off. I just have to get in the right mindset.”
Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey believes that confidence will be one of the most important factors for Lokedi at the NCAA Championships.
“She’s in really great shape and I think she’s been racing very, very well,” Whittelsey said. “Now it’s just about real confidence. I think her confidence is high, but to put herself up in that front five and continue to get better she has to believe in herself 100 percent – and she does when she competes.”
Another key element in order for Lokedi to get the outcome she’s looking for will be her ability to finish the 6K with a strong, powerful kick.
“A big part of it is just trusting your kick and being able to get into that next gear,” Whittlesey said. “She has tremendous speed, but her ability to get there at the end of races is one of the last pieces of the puzzle that we’re continuing to work on.”
Rather than feeling nervous or anxious, the one word that describes Lokedi’s demeanor heading into her final sophomore race is “hungry.”
“Right now, I’m just hungry for more. I need to be satisfied and accomplish what I’ve been working for,” Lokedi said. “I want to put myself in a position where I know I did my best and worked as hard as I could to improve from where I was last year. All these races that I’ve been running … this is the one that can define the season and prove how hard I’ve been working.”
As a coach, Whittlesey couldn’t be happier to hear Lokedi said those words. He knows she is fully capable of putting herself at the top.
“I’m really excited,” Whittlesey said. “I’m excited to see her competitiveness at the front because she is absolutely an elite-level athlete. I can’t wait to see her take that next step.”
The women’s 6K race is set to kick off at 10 a.m. (CT). Lokedi is the only Jayhawk who will be competing. She faces a field of 248 runners, including the 24 at-large competitors, or women who are on teams that did not qualify.
Following the NCAA Championships, Lokedi and the rest of the Jayhawks will transition to their indoor track season. The first meet is the Bob Timmons Challenge on Friday, Dec. 2 at the Anschutz Sports Pavilion in Lawrence, Kan.
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