Colby Wissel Makes All-Big 12 For Third Time
Oct. 26, 2007
LUBBOCK, Texas -
On a course described by many runners as deceiving, the University of Kansas cross country teams took on the rest of the conference at the Big 12 Championships hosted by Texas Tech on Saturday. The men's team placed seventh, while the women's team finished identical to a year ago, 11th.
Senior Colby Wissel was looking to defend his 2006 Big 12 title and was in position to do that throughout the race. He went out conservatively to begin and was 13th at the mile mark. Through the second mile Wissel was amongst a pack of runners. By the third mile, he was by himself in third. During the fourth mile Brent Vaughan of Colorado separated himself from the pack and left Wissel in sixth, on route to a fifth place finish (24:51) and All-Big 12 honors for the third consecutive year.
"Colby had a decent race," said Head Coach Stanley Redwine. "It is very tough to repeat as a champion."
Senior Paul Hefferon wasn't far behind in 21st place. He passed four runners in the last mile and finished with a time of 25:28. After the top two KU finishers, crimson and blue was sporadic throughout the field of 100 runners. Sophomore Bret Imgrund placed 42nd with a time of 26:08. His finish was nine places better than in the 2006 meet.
Dan Van Orsdel finished as the team's fourth runner with a time of 26:45 (65th place). Senior Patrick McGowan finished his last Big 12 meet in 79th place (27:08). Freshman Nick Caprario and Senior Jason Schweitzer finished 82nd and 88th, respectively.
After a finish of third last year, placing seventh at this year's meet was a big disappointment. The Jayhawks finished just three points behind Missouri.
"For the men's team, I wasn't satisfied," Redwine said. "I was hoping to perform better. I would say that maybe I made a mistake with preparing the athletes. There is a physical part of it and a mental part of it and it seemed that some weren't prepared mentally and I need to do a better job of that."
The women's team was led by sophomore Lauren Bonds for the fourth time this season. Bonds had a 28-place improvement from last year with a time of 22:04. Even with Bonds' improvement, it was not enough to move Kansas out of the same 11 spot they were last year.
"For Lauren Bonds to finish 30th this year and 58th last year and the team still finished in 11th place," Redwine said, "it was just a tougher and deeper meet."
Senior Alicia McGregor, who ran with Bonds the majority of the race, placed 41st with a time of 22:12. She improved 16 places from a year ago. Fellow senior Hayley Harbert wasn't far behind with a 47th place finish. She set a personal record with a time of 22:23, just two seconds better than her time at this year's NCAA Pre-Nationals.
Freshman Amanda Miller was the team's fourth finisher, placing 62nd overall with a time of 22:50 for the 6K race. Sophomore Allison Knoll finished 81st in the field of 102 to contribute in the scoring for Kansas.
The Jayhawks 11th place finish was three points ahead of Kansas State and just behind Border Showdown rival Missouri.
"I've said all season, `we are getting, we are getting better' then it depends, compared to our competition how much better we've gotten," Redwine said. "With where we are and the rate that we are going, we have to continue to get better."
Sally Kipyego repeated as the women's champion breaking her own meet record with a time of 19:22.
Colorado won the team title for the men and women's team. The men won for the 12th straight year, while the women won it for the ninth straight time.
The meet was held at Rawls Golf Course. The course appeared flat, but had several rolling hills and sharp turns that allowed many runners to get off to a fast start. It was also a challenge to get any sort of rhythm. The weather was a perfect 65 degrees with light wind.
Kansas will next be in action at the Midwest Regional Championships in Peoria, Ill. on Saturday Nov. 10.