👟 Gibbens Claims First-Place Finish, Jayhawks Finish Both Meets in Contention
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Kansas cross country team competed in two meets today, highlighted by Chandler Gibbens’ first-place finish at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational.
"It’s a learning experience. That was the one thing we knew coming here. It’s going to get out fast, but I thought we were in a really good position halfway through the race. I don’t think the guys saw the vision in the race and kind of got stuck moving backwards instead of forward."Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey
The day started with the Kansas women competing at the Gans Creek Invitational in Columbia, Mo. In a field of 235 individuals, Kansas notched a pair of top-ten finishes in the 6K, led by Lona Latema and Kenadi Krueger. Latema ran an impressive 20:43.0 in her first race of the season, which secured fourth place. Krueger followed suit, placing ninth with a time of 21:11.8.
The next Jayhawks to place were Tori Wingrove and Abi Street. Wingrove finished with a time of 22:21.3 and Street ran to a time of 22:24.4. Rounding out the top-100 finishes were Addie Coppinger (22:42.1) and Caroline Burrow (23:07.9).
The women placed sixth overall in a field that consisted of 23 total teams. KU topped Mississippi State, Illinois and Baylor, to name a few.
"The top-two ran really well. Lona (Latema) was in position to win it, first race of the year for her as well. She learns through racing, so I know she’s going to be fine in the end. She gets better every single race. Kenadi (Krueger) ran a great race. She’s continuing to move forward, both in training and competing wise. We’ll keep learning and getting better because the team’s attitude is in the right place."Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey
Moving over to the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind., Gibbens was able to cross the finish line first in his first race of the 2023 season, topping his previous personal record by 31 seconds to claim the individual title. The field consisted of 155 individual entries that ran the 8K.
"He (Chandler) did a great job. He knew exactly how he wanted to run the race and executed it perfectly. The first race of the year is always going to hurt a little bit in the middle and he did a good job of just sticking on the guys and waiting for the end of the race. He ran a fantastic race."Assistant Coach Michael Whittlesey
Peter Walsdorf was the next Jayhawk to finish, placing 72nd with a time of 24:41.3. Tanner Newkirk finished right behind in 77th as he raced to a time of 24:45.3. Two more Jayhawks finished in the top-100, Cale Litrrell (24:50.2) and Tanner Taller (24:57.5).
Overall, the team finished 12th in the 18-team field, topping Iowa and Wichita State.
Kansas will travel to Charlottesville, Va. to compete in the Pre-National Invite race on Oct. 14 to once again try their hand at hitting a nationals-qualifying mark.