Jayhawk Men, Women Open Season Strong at Bob Timmons Classic
LAWRENCE, Kan. – An individual victory from redshirt freshman Grace Morgan as well as team wins from both the KU men’s and women’s teams highlighted another solid season-opening race for the Kansas cross country teams Saturday morning in the Bob Timmons Dual Classic at Rim Rock Farm. Morgan topped the field by nearly 30 seconds to earn her first career win in a KU uniform, while transfer Jacob Morgan earned a runner-up finish in leading the Jayhawk men to their 12th-straight win at the season-opening meet.
Grace Morgan, who hails from Lawrence, got her season off to a good start in front of friends and family with her first career-victory as a Jayhawk. The redshirt freshman’s victory was never in doubt after she pulled away from the lead pack just over midway through the race. She widened the gap between her and the rest of the field over the remaining 2,000 meters and was able to coast down the homestretch as she came toward the finish.
Grace Morgan completed the 5K loop in 18:49.1, the fastest finish by a Jayhawk at the Bob Timmons in four years. Her time was also just over 30 seconds faster than the runner-up, Oral Roberts’ Samantha Watson, who won the individual title at the same meet last year.
The next Jayhawk finishers were sophomores Jennifer Angles and Rachel Simon, who clocked in at 19:21.1 and 19:29.3, respectively, for third and fourth overall. Kelli McKenna and Hannah Dimmick rounded out the Jayhawk scoring effort. The sophomore, McKenna, came in at 19:42.9 for sixth overall while the freshman, Dimmick, notched an eighth place finish in her first outing in the Crimson and Blue after traversing Rim Rock in 19:57.1.
The Jayhawk men kicked off the morning with the 6K race and it didn’t take long for the eventual individual champion to declare himself. Iowa Western’s Sylvester Barus opened up a lead of more than 200 meters after the opening mile and never looked back. The freshman posted a winning time of 18:21.6 to earn the win and break a string of three-straight Jayhawk individual champions as the Bob Timmons.
With Barus going out early, the Jayhawk men kept to their game plan and held a tight pack over the first half of the race. Sophomore Tyler Yunk, the defending champion, as well as Chris Malgares took up posts as the leaders of that pack for the first portions of the race, but it was the veteran Jacob Morgan that took control as the group ran past the 4K marker.
Jacob Morgan, a junior transfer out of Colorado State and Topeka, Kansas native, raced to a runner-up finish after pulling away from his teammates over the final 2,000 meters. He posted a time of 19:16.2 in his first outing as a Jayhawk. Yunk came through the finish just over 17 seconds later for a third-place finish, while Malgares was next in fourth with his time of 19:38.6.
Junior Brandon Bernal and freshman Juan del Azar were the next two Jayhawk scorers. Bernal posted a time of 20:22.9, good enough for a 12th-place finish and del Azar capped off his debut race with a 13th-place finish in 20:28.4.
Both teams came out on top in the double dual scoring system. The Jayhawk women dispatched of Oral Roberts by a score of 19-44 and also downed UMKC 17-46. The Kansas men came out on top over ORU by a score of 21-35 and beat UMKC by a tally of 19-36.
Kansas will now have four weeks to prepare for its next competition, the Roy Griak Invitational set for Sept. 27 in Minneapolis, Minn. Follow the Jayhawks’ progress from the Les Bolstad Golf Course by logging on to KUAthletics.com for a recap and results and follow on Twitter for additional updates at @KansasXC.
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