Cross country previews 2017 season at Media Day

Junior Sharon Lokedi talks with the media.LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas cross country and track & field head coach Stanley Redwine spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon as part of the Kansas Athletics Fall Sports Media Day. Discussing topics that covered both the men’s and women’s programs to celebrating the 50th year of women’s sports at KU, Redwine set the table for the 2017 campaign.

The Jayhawks open the season by hosting the Bob Timmons Dual Classic at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence on Sept. 2. The men’s 6K race is scheduled to start at 9 a.m., with the women’s 5K slated for 10 a.m.

Coach Redwine just finished his press conference at the KU Fall Sports Media Day! Check out the video on the @kuathletics Facebook page!

A post shared by Kansas Track and Field (@kutrack) on Aug 16, 2017 at 10:46am PDT

The entire press conference with remarks from volleyball head coach Ray Bechard, soccer head coach Mark Francis and Redwine was streamed via Facebook Live and can be viewed on the official Kansas Jayhawks Facebook page. Redwine’s remarks begin at 36:30 in the video.

Head coach Stanley Redwine
Opening statement:
As far as cross country, we’re really excited about our teams. We have Sharon Lokedi on our women’s side who was a Big 12 Champion, All-American twice in cross, so we’re excited about her. She’s going to definitely be the leader of the team.
Our biggest thing is our depth. We lost five seniors last year. We just started yesterday and we have a lot of people stepping up and trying to take the position of the ones that we lost. I think Sharon’s leadership is definitely helping everyone out so we should be pretty good there.
I think the biggest thing for Sharon is that she’s been very successful and created a target on her back. What that means is how does she handle the pressure of everyone expecting her to do well. She’ll do a really good job we believe.
Coach Whit is doing a really good job of making sure that the team is bonding and doing good and I think that’s the main thing for us as it relates to both our men’s and women’s programs in creating a team atmosphere that they can run together and feel really good throughout the race. Those are the things that are happening with us.
On our men’s side, we have Michael Melgares and Chris Melgares who I believe are going to be our team leaders as well.
Our number five person is as important as our number one person on both. It’s the pack we have to create on both teams in order to run well and do well at our League meet and at our NCAA meet. We’re looking forward to doing those things.
Injury wise we don’t have any major injuries. We just started yesterday morning. We didn’t lose anyone to injuries throughout the summer, but we’re excited that everyone is ready to compete and compete well together. That’s what makes it fun for us as coaches. That’s what being a team is all about. It’s not just about an individual doing well, it’s about the cohesiveness of everyone that’s important for us.
Mark and Ray talked about the process and I think that’s a daily thing for us as well. We have to make sure that everyone is doing the right things whether it’s training together, moving well together at the same time, and being able to put a total team effort together and that’s what we’re looking forward to.
On packing and losing experienced runners:
We have some redshirt freshmen that understand that process. I think that will help us as well, but it won’t change our strategy. We may say, “Sharon, you have to pack well with someone else,” because she’s better than some of the other ones. The other ones are working well together and creating an atmosphere that they know how to pack well together.
That’s kind of been the idea over the two days that we’ve practiced, seeing who’s the most fit right now. As the process goes on, that’s what we’ll find out.
On what the redshirts have learned to prepare them to step up:
The exciting thing about it is that those freshmen, especially the redshirt freshmen, and sophomore have had the opportunity to watch the upperclassmen lead the team and now it’s their turn. It’s the sophomores turn to step up and as they’re stepping up and wanting to contribute to the team, they know how.
I think it also depends on the seniors that we have and the juniors that we have to help bring them up, but they’re doing a really good job.
On coaching Sharon differently:
She’s coached and prepared just like everyone else. Obviously if there’s a training session and we ask for a certain time from the athletes, her time may be a little faster. The process of the whole team is still the same.
On 50th anniversary of women’s athletics and Sharon’s role:
I think Sharon wants to do extremely well in everything she does. In being one of the most decorated athletes here in the past I don’t know how many years, it’s really good to have her here. She wants to do well and we want her to do well. It’s our job to prepare her to achieve her goals.
As I think back about the 50 years, track wasn’t there 50 years ago, but women’s athletics was there, which I think is really good. Thinking about track and cross country, Mary Washington started the team. You think back to the things she had to go through and achieve that mark for us to have a track team. I’m very thankful for her. There’s a lot of things that we can be thankful for. Overall, 50 years is really good for the university.  The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.