Lokedi Shines as Jayhawks Compete at NCAA Midwest Regional

NCAA Midwest Regional
Rim Rock Farm \ Lawrence, Kan.

Senior Evan Landes ran to All-Region honors after his ninth-place finish Friday at Rim Rock Farm.
KU Women’s Top-5 Finishers (223 Total)
Name Year Time
3. Sharon Lokedi FR 20:14.9
24. Lydia Saggau SO 20:57.3
32. Nashia Baker JR 21:11.4
33. Malika Baker JR 21:12.5
60. Kelli McKenna JR 21:37.2
Women’s Top-5 Team Finishes (32 Total)
School Points Average
1. Oklahoma State 51 20:35.8
2. Iowa State 98 20:52.5
3. Minnesota 125 20:59.6
4. Tulsa 151 21:04.6
5. Kansas 151 21:02.7
KU Men’s Top 5 Finishers (192 Total)
Name Year Time
9. Evan Landes SR 30:13.2
21. Jacob Morgan SR 30:28.6
40. Chris Melgares SO 31:12.1
47. Daniel Koech JR 31:17.5
53. James Hampton JR 31:23.1
Men’s Top-5 Team Finishes (26 Total)
School Points Average
1. Oklahoma State 59 30:15.1
2. Minnesota 95 30:30.0
3. Oklahoma 104 30:28.0
4. Tulsa 127 30:32.2
5. Iowa State 157 30:56.9
7. Kansas 168 30:54.9

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – A third-place finish from freshman Sharon Lokedi highlighted solid outings from the Kansas women’s and men’s cross country teams at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships Friday afternoon at Rim Rock Farm. Lokedi’s third-place finish led her team to a fifth-place finish, while senior Evan Landes was the top Jayhawk on the men’s side as he led his squad to a seventh-place finish.
“I thought Sharon was fantastic today, as was the entire women’s team,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the tie-breaker with Tulsa for fourth, but that doesn’t take anything away from the effort our athletes gave today. They went out there and competed really well.”
Lokedi, who hails from Eldoret, Kenya, never strayed from the lead group during the 6K race on a sunny and warm day on the Jayhawks’ home course. The freshman set up a firm position among the top-five runners less than 2,000 meters into the race and never fell lower than third from there on out. After the 3-mile checkpoint, Lokedi remained in contention at the front of the pack and remained less than a second behind the lead runner all the way until the home stretch.
Lokedi last some ground between herself and the leader over the final 400 meter, but still managed to post a third-place finish at the regional meet, the best finish by a KU female since 1994. Lokedi clocked in with a 6K time of 20:14.9 to claim the bronze medal. Her high finish also earned her All-Region accolades for the first time in her career.
The finish not only led her team for the four time this year, but also earned her an individual automatic bid to next week’s NCAA National Championships. The full field will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 15.
The Kansas women also saw an All-Region outing from sophomore Lydia Saggau. The West De Moines, Iowa product started her race in the midst of the lead pack, checking at 26th after the first mile. After falling outside the top-20 midway through the race, Saggau came back over the second half of the race and moved up to the all-important top-25 as she came down the finishing chute. She crossed the finish in 24th overall in a time of 20:57.3.
Saggau’s top-25 finish gave Kansas two All-Region honorees, the second time the Jayhawk women have seen multiple All-Midwest runners in the last three seasons.
The next three Kansas scorers all finished inside the top-60. Junior Nashia Baker posted a 32nd-place and completed her 6K in 21:11.4. Junior Malika Baker finished just over a second behind her sister as claimed a 33rd-place finish in 21:12.5. Junior Kelli McKenna rounded out the team scoring with her time of 21:37.2, good enough for a 60th-place finish.
The KU women saw its top-five finishers all finish inside the top-60 for the first time under head coach Stanley Redwine (since 2000) and will now wait to see if they can earn an at-large team bid to the NCAA Championships next weekend. An at-large selection would be the team’s first trip to the NCAA meet since 1994.
The women amassed 151 points, which was good enough for a fifth-place finish.
On the men’s side, Landes was the top KU finisher for the second time this season. The senior out of Mulvane, Kansas got out to a slow start as he passed the one-mile checkpoint in 22nd with a 4:44.8 split, but steadily moved his way up the leaderboard over the rest of the race. With just over 3,000 meters to go, Landes moved up to sixth-place behind a 4:42.7 mile, his fastest split of the race. He finished strong and crossed the finish with a final time of 30:13.2, which earned him a ninth-place finish, his highest ever at the Midwest Regional.
Fellow senior Jacob Morgan also earned a top-25 finish, the third of his career at an NCAA Regional. The Topeka, Kansas native worked his way through the dense group of runners that made up the lead pack and moved up to as high as eighth midway through the race. While he wasn’t able to stay among the top-five runners, Morgan managed to remain in All-Region contention and posted a 21st-place finish after clocking in at 30:28.6.
“I thought both Evan and Jacob ran really good races,” said Redwine. “As a team I thought we were better than the seventh-place team, but unfortunately that’s where we were today. We just have to figure out what went wrong and use that to get better moving into the future.”
Sophomore Chris Melgares was the Jayhawks’ No. 3 finisher at the regional meet for the second-straight year. He posted a time of 31:12.1, which earned him a 40th-place finish.
Juniors Daniel Koech and James Hampton rounded out the KU scoring effort. Koech was the fourth Jayhawk to tally a top-50 finish after he came in at 47th in 31:17.5. Hampton completed his race in 31:23.1 and finished 53rd overall.
The men’s finishes saw the squad total 168 points and place seventh out of the 26-team field.
With the 2015 cross country season now complete for the majority of the KU team, the Jayhawks will now turn their attention toward the indoor track & field campaign, slated to begin in just three weeks. Kansas will kick off the season with the Bob Timmons Challenge on Saturday, Dec. 5 in Lawrence at the meet scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., inside Anschutz Pavilion.
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