👟 Gibbens and Latema Ready to Faceoff at NCAA Nationals
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Seniors Chander Gibbens and Lona Latema travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to compete in NCAA Nationals on Saturday at Panorama Farms, the first time a male and female athlete have both made Nationals since 2015.
Latema will race in the women’s 6K starting at 9:20 a.m. CT. After that, Gibbens will compete in the 10K at 10:10 a.m. CT. This is the second time this season Gibbens will race a 10K.
"Lona and Chandler have worked very hard this summer and fall, and have put themselves into a great position for the race tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing them compete very strongly."Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey
This season, Gibbens has been the catalyst for the men’s side. His best performance came at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational. The captain of the team ran the 8K in just 23:08.4, topping his previous personal best by 31 seconds. This finish earned him an NCAA Division I Athlete of the Week selection by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The two-time Big 12 Runner of the Week was the first individual qualifier to finish at Midwest Regional Championships last weekend as he placed sixth in the 10K, the longest race of the season, with a time of 30:21.2.
Latema saw her best finish come at the right moment last week at Midwest Regional Championships. She was the first individual qualifier to finish as she earned a third-place podium finish in the 6K, finishing the race in 20:31.2, which matched her personal best.
At her first race of the fall, Latema placed fourth in the Gan Creek Classic’s 6K with a time of 20:43.0. That finish led the women’s side to their third top-10 finish of the season. Overall, the women have placed in the top-10 in every regular season meet and sixth at the Big 12 Championship.
Both Gibbens and Latema already have experience at Panorama Farms when they raced in the Pre-Nationals Invite on October 14. Gibbens raced in the 8K Blue Race as he was able to claim a top-five finish at fourth with a time of 23:09.4. Latema ran in the 6K Orange Race. She finished second as she raced to a time of 20:46.2.
HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
The 2023 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be broadcast live on ESPNU with a pre-race show beginning at 8:30 a.m. CT. Awards will be streamed live on WatchESPN and the ESPN app starting at 11 a.m. CT. Live results will be available here, provided by PrimeTime Timing. Fans are also encouraged to follow along the official Kansas Track & Field and Cross Country social media channels for live updates throughout the day.