Jayhawks compete at Pre-National Invitational

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – At the midway point of the 2019 cross country season, the Kansas men’s and women’s team took to the LaVern Gibson XC Course Saturday morning, where the Jayhawks went up against some of top individuals, and teams, from across the nation. It was an opportunity for the teams to compare where they are at to other top teams’ runners as the season turns to the championships in a few short weeks.

In a last-minute race assignment change, the Kansas women took to the course first in the 6K Blue Race at 10 a.m. (CT). They were originally scheduled to compete in the White Race Saturday in Terre Haute. For the third time this season, sophomore Ally Ryan led the Jayhawk women’s contingency of runners, ultimately crossing the finish line with a time of 21:44.3, good for a 129th-place finish out of 252 total runners in the field. The women placed 36th overall as a team in the Blue Race.

"We really didn’t compete well at all, didn’t run well together as a group. We thought they would be more ready to go for this meet. We, as coaches, need to do a better job of preparing our team to run in a meet like this."

Stanley Redwine, Kansas cross country head coach

Almost immediately following the conclusion of the women’s race, the KU men stepped up to the start line for their 8K Blue Race, slated to be the fastest of the day on the deceiving course. Freshman Chandler Gibbens donned the Crimson and Blue for the first time this year, having run unattached in the previous two meets, and led the Jayhawk men to a 19th-place finish out of 38 teams in their division. Gibbens crossed the finish line in 21:14.2, which made him 33rd individually. Not too far behind was junior teammate Ben Butler, who was 41st with his time of 24:21.8.

"We are really excited about how some of our men performed today. Chandler Gibbens, the freshman, did especially well. A couple of other guys -- Ben Butter, Dylan Hodgson and George Letner -- also ran well and came away with good finishes. As a team, the men ran well together as a pack. More good came out of this race than bad."

Coach Redwine

Back on the course later in the day, Kansas had representatives in both the women’s 6K and men’s 8K Open races. Sophomores Sarah Scott and Alexys Barton were among the top-50 finishers with their times of 23:04.4 and 23:18.9. Those times placed them 43rd and 49th, respectively, in the women’s race. Shortly thereafter, Kansas junior George Letner led the way for the men with his top-10 placement. He crossed the finish line in 25:14.9 to claim 10th place.


"Moving into the conference meet in a couple of weeks, we now know what we need to improve on before then in order to be successful there."

Coach Redwine

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.