Jayhawks Ready to Host Rim Rock Classic Saturday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – One of the nation’s most popular cross country courses will be showcased this weekend in Lawrence when the Kansas men’s and women’s teams host the Rim Rock Classic Saturday morning, Oct. 3. The men will kick things off at the Jayhawks’ home course, Rim Rock Farm, with the 8K race at 9 a.m., while the starting gun for the women’s 6K is set to go off at 10 a.m.
“Training has been going great on both the men’s and women’s sides,” said assistant cross country coach Michael Whittlesey of his squads, who have had a month off after the season-opening Bob Timmons Classic. “Confidence has been increasing for everyone as the workouts have progressed.”
The Jayhawks will be tested with some stiff competition as they will go up against several highly-touted teams such as Iowa State, Nebraska, Rice, New Mexico State and Cal State Fullerton.
“The teams coming in this weekend will give us a good marker for how we stack up, not only within the conference, but from a national perspective as well,” said Whittlesey. “There will be a lot of individuals that will hopefully push our teams to some great performances.”
The KU women saw strong performances from many runners in the Jayhawks’ first meet of the year last month. Sophomore Lydia Saggau claimed her first collegiate win at the Bob Timmons Classic and will look to lead her team again this weekend. Junior Nashia Baker is also expected to be a key part of the women’s pack Saturday. She has been one of Kansas’ top-two finishers in each of her last six outings. Junior Courtney Coppinger and sophomore Alaina Schroeder were also impressive in their first race of the year, each finishing inside the top-five at the Bob Timmons Classic.
“We’re looking for the women to close the gap between our No. 1 and No. 2 runners,” explained Whittlesey. “In the last meet, Lydia went out there and posted a good mark and we are going to need to close the gap to her. We’ve been doing better with that in our practices, but we need to focus on executing that in competition.”
Several Jayhawk men also had impressive starts to the season. Freshman Dylan Hodgson picked up a third-place finish in his first collegiate race and led the men’s pack at the Bob Timmons Classic. Hodgson is expected to be joined be several of KU’s more seasoned runners this weekend in seniors Jacob Morgan, Evan Landes and sophomore Chris Melgares, each of whom will be competing for the first time this season. Other Jayhawks expected to vie for top spots in the KU pack are sophomores Carson Vickroy and Daniel Koech and freshman Michael Melgares.
“The men just need to be confident and calm in the early portions of the race,” Whittlesey sad. “We’re going to have to run with a lot of guts and determination over the last few miles, but early on we need to be smart and we need to be calm to put ourselves in the right position for the later portions of the race.”
Complete results, along with a full recap of the event including video of athlete and coach reaction, will be available on KUAthletics.com following completion of the races. Also follow on Twitter at @KansasXC for live updates and results throughout the morning.
The Jayhawks will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Pre-National Invitational in Louisville, Ky. The meet is slated to begin at 8:30 a.m. (CT), and will feature many of the top cross country squads in the nation.
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