|The Kansas women will look to bring home the
program’s first conference title this weekend
Kansas Meet Notes
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas cross country teams are in full gear as they prepare to host the Big 12 Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 1 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence. The Jayhawk men look to improve on their sixth-place finish one year ago with the help of junior Jacob Morgan, who has led the Jayhawk men in three races this season, while the women’s squad hopes to continue its marked improvement that has highlighted the season thus far.
The men’s team has eagerly anticipated Nov. 1 as a date to showcase not only its unique course, but also a team capable of challenging several of the top squads in the Big 12 and the nation as well. Morgan, who is in his first season in Lawrence after transferring from Colorado State, has already seen loads of success on KU’s home course, picking up a runner-up finish and a victory in the Jayhawks’ two home races this year. He is also coming off a 29th-place finish two weeks ago against one of the most competitive fields of the season at the ISU Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 18.
Joining Morgan in the Jayhawks’ assault is senior James Wilson. The Abilene, Kansas product has finished inside the top-35 in each of the last two conference meets and will look to attain All-Big 12 status for the first time with a top-15 finish this weekend. Freshman Chris Melgares has also been impressive for the men’s squad this year, finishing in the Jayhawks’ top-three in each race he’s competed in. A strong outing from the trio of Morgan, Wilson and Melgares should help the KU men finish high in the team standings that features four schools ranked inside the top-30 of the national rankings.
For the women, the Big 12 Championships represent a venue to showcase a program that has equaled or improved upon its results at every meet thus far in the 2014 season. The team is coming off a second-place performance at the Rim Rock Classic in early October and a 32nd-place result at ISU Pre-National meet two weeks ago. Those performances came on the heels of two solid earlier season performances, as the team captured the Bob Timmons Classic title and claimed 20th at the Roy Griak Invitational one month later.
Sophomore Nashia Baker stands out as the women’s top runner, as she been the Jayhawks’ top finisher at every meet in which she has competed this season. She crossed the finish line first for the Jayhawks at KU’s toughest competitions to date, the Roy Griak Invitational and the NCAA Pre-Nationals. Junior Hayley Francis, sophomore Rachel Simon and redshirt freshman Grace Morgan closely follow Baker in building a solid top four. Morgan was the winner of the season-opening Bob Timmons Classic, while Francis and Simon were in KU’s top-four in each of their last two outings.
The Big 12 Cross Country Championships marks the second time that Kansas has hosted a Big 12 Championship event in Lawrence and the first since 2006. The Oklahoma State men and Iowa State women have dominated the event in recent years, with the Cowboys claiming the most recent six-consecutive league titles and the Cyclones winning the last three in a row. The Kansas men have won 19 league titles in the program’s history but haven’t been victorious at a conference meet since 1969. The last individual conference champion from Kansas was Colby Wissel, who won the men’s race the last time the Jayhawks hosted the event in 2006.
The races are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., with the women’s 6K race. The men’s 8K event will follow at 11 a.m. Log on to Big12atRimRock.com throughout the week for course and team information, results and a recap of the day’s events.
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