Jayhawk cross country gears up for Rim Rock Classic Saturday

Date Sunday, October 1
Time Men – 9 a.m.  |  Women – 10 a.m.
Location Lawrence, Kan.
Stadium Rim Rock Farm
Notes 8K Map (Men)  |  6K Map (Women)
Stats Prime Time Timing
Twitter @KansasXC | #kuxc
Instagram @KUTrack | #kuxc

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in their second meet of the year this Saturday, Oct. 1, when they host the Rim Rock Classic at their home course. The men’s 8K race is set to kick-off at 9 a.m., with the women’s 6K beginning at 10 a.m. The Jayhawks will compete against Central Missouri, Indiana, Oral Roberts, Rice and UMKC.
The Kansas women are currently ranked No. 26 in the nation, according to the most recent U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll.
This weekend, the women’s team will see the season debut of sophomore All-American Sharon Lokedi, junior Lydia Saggau and seniors Malika and Nashia Baker, who were all members of last year’s NCAA Championships squad. They are expected to be big contributors this weekend as the Jayhawks face tough competition.
“Indiana and Rice are coming in and those are two of the strongest teams with powerful frontrunners,” assistant coach Michael Whittlesey said. “We’re hoping that our depth, and certainly our frontrunners, with both Sharon and Hannah (Richardson) along with the return of Lydia (Saggau) and the Bakers, will really help that attack upfront.”
The women had a strong start to the season last month, as they swept the Bob Timmons Classic for the second year in a row. Seven of the top-10 runners to cross the finish line were Jayhawks, led by junior Hannah Dimmick, who placed first overall.
Sophomore Riley Cooney and senior Jennifer Angles also had solid performances, finishing the 5K race in second and third place overall. Junior Grace Morgan (fifth), sophomore Emmie Skopec (sixth), senior Rachel Simon (seventh) and sophomore Kayla Funkenbusch (10th) rounded out the top 10 Jayhawks. All six runners will strive to place once again as they prepare to compete in their second meet of the year this Saturday.
The Kansas men’s team also had promising results at the Bob Timmons Classic after redshirt freshman Bryce Richards finished second overall. Sophomore Michael Melgares and junior Carson Vickroy, who placed fourth and fifth, are expected to be key factors again in the Rim Rock Classic. They will be joined by top returners, including junior Chris Melgares, senior James Hampton, sophomore Dylan Hodgson and senior Daniel Koech, who did not compete in the first meet.
“Those four guys, who are coming back for their first race of the season, are returning from last year’s top squad,” Whittlesey said. “We’re looking for strength from them.”
It has been nearly a month since the Kansas teams’ last meet, but that hasn’t hindered their training.
“It does seem like a big gap between our competitions, but we’ve reminded them the importance of taking care of the little things all the time,” Whittlesey concluded. “We have to keep our eyes on the prize and be ready at the end of October for the championship phase. Having time to continue to work and develop the right mixture of who can run with who, and building up the confidence to get that number higher and higher is the biggest thing we’ve been working on over the last month and a half.”
Following the Rim Rock Classic, the Jayhawks will head to Terre Haute, Indiana. For the Pre-National Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 15. The women’s 6K race will start at 10 a.m. (CT), while the men will begin their 8K race at 10:35 a.m. (CT).
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