Meet Preview: Pre-National Invitational

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams return to competition this Saturday as they will compete in the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Taking part in their largest meet of the season thus far, the Jayhawks are among a field of 57 men’s teams and 64 women’s teams from across the country running at the LaVern Gibson Championship XC Course. The competition will be fierce, as there are 11 nationally ranked men’s teams running on Saturday, while there are 10 on the women’s side which are in the nation’s top-25. The Kansas men will kick things off in the 8K Blue Race at 10:35 a.m. (CT), to be followed by the women’s team in the 6K White Race at 11:15 a.m. (CT).

"We're excited for the opportunities for both the men's and women's teams (this weekend). This will be the biggest meet of the season thus far and will also give us a really good indication of where we stand within the nation."

Stanley Redwine, Head Coach

Almost two weeks ago, on October 5, the Jayhawks again kept both team titles in the host school’s hands for another season at the 2019 edition of the Rim Rock Collegiate Classic, as the women claimed an eight-point victory over runner-up Kansas City (31-39) while the men bested Northern Colorado, by 33 points, 17-50.

Sophomore Ally Ryan led the way for the KU women, claiming her second individual victory of the season with her time of 22:59.3, crossing the finish line nearly a minute and a half ahead of the next runner. Ryan was joined by four other Kansas women to make up 50% of the top-10 overall runners to  claim the team title as well.

Michael Melgares was the first collegian to complete the 8K course at Rim Rock Farm, traversing the wet and muddy conditions in a time of 25:47.4. The top runner of the day donning the Crimson and the Blue was approximately 10 seconds behind the overall top-two unattached finishers of the race, Joe Moore (25:30.7) and Chris Melgares (25:31.7), both members of the Kansas City Smoke. Running as a pack worked out well for the Jayhawk men, as they saw four finishers among the top-10, which led to their team title.


Date/Time Saturday, October 19
Location Terrre Haute, Ind.
Meet Course LaVern Gibson Championship XC Course
Race Time/Men Blue 8K Race, 10:35 a.m. (CT)
Race Time/Women White 6K Race, 11:15 a.m. (CT)


  • The 13th-place finish by the Kansas women last year marked the highest finish at the Pre-National Invitational meet since 2016, when the Jayhawk women also placed 13th.
  • Sophomore Ally Ryan has led the Jayhawks on the trails so far this season, going undefeated at Rim Rock Farm. Her two first-place finishes helped the women’s team claim both the Bob Timmons Classic and the Rim Rock Collegiate Classic titles.
  • Ten women will take to the course for KU on Saturday in the Women’s White Race 6K: Alexys Barton, Kalea Chu, Riley Cooney, Cameron Gueldner, Talley Hill, Lona Latema, Lisa Lauschke, Catherine Liggett, Ally Ryan and Sarah Scott.
  • Teams set to compete in the Women’s White 6K Race include: Arizona, Campbell, Cincinnati, Dayton, Delaware, Eastern Kentucky, Indiana, Iona, IUPUI, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, Missouri State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oakland, Ohio, Oklahoma, Saint Louis, San Francisco, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, UC Davis, UTEP, UW-Milwaukee, Western Illinois and Western Michigan.


  • The KU men’s 20th-place finish at last year’s Pre-National Invitational was the highest finish since 2013, when the team placed 14th.
  • Running as a pack is a strategy that has worked out well for the Jayhawk men in each of their first two meets this season, coming away with a pair of team titles on their home course by winning both the Bob Timmons Classic (Aug. 31) and Rim Rock Collegiate Classic (Oct. 5).
  • The Jayhawks will have a dozen men competing in this year’s Pre-National Blue 8K Race: Teddy Buckley, Ben Butler, Ethan Donley, Chandler Gibbens, Dylan Hodgson, George Letner, John Luder, Michael Melgares, Dylan Miller, Jake Ralston, Kyler True and Jack Young.
  • The Kansas men will be going up against some of the best runners and teams in the nation, as 10 of the 11 top-25 teams in Terre Haute on Saturday will be in the Men’s Blue 8K Race: Arkansas (27), Arkansas State, Butler, BYU (2), Campbell, Colorado (3), Cornell, Dartmouth College, Dayton, Duke, East Tennessee State, Eastern Michigan, Florida State (30), Indiana (15), Iona (21), Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Liberty, Lipscomb, Louisville, Miami (OH), Minnesota, Montana State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State (14), Ole Miss (8), South Dakota State, UMass-Lowell, UNC-Chapel Hill, UTEP, Villanova, Virginia Tech (29), Washington (4), Weber State, Wichita State and Yale.

Kansas cross country has a weekend off before competing in the 24th annual Big 12 Cross Country Championship, which takes place November 2, at Cottonwood Creek Golf Club in Waco, Texas. The men’s 8K is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., and be followed by the women’s 6K at 11 a.m.