KU Cross Country Set to Kick Off 2011 Season with Bob Timmons Classic
Sept. 1, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. - The KU cross country teams will kick off the 2011 season at home on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 9 a.m. when the Jayhawks host the Bob Timmons Classic at Rim Rock Farm. The Jayhawks are hoping to claim first place victories in the event for the sixth-straight season.
“The big emphasis this weekend is going to be working on pack running and working within those groups,” said third year Assistant Coach Mike Whittlesey. “We’ll try to evaluate abilities as far as where our athletes are trying to run; in the front pack with our top level runners or in another tighter group that will be a little behind them.”
The meet will begin at 9 a.m., (Central) with the men's college and university 6K race. At 10 a.m., the women will hit the course to compete in the 5K race. The Jayhawks welcome teams form Highland Community College, Missouri S and T, Oklahoma Baptist, Haskell and Oral Roberts.
Although several runners on the men’s team will be watching from the sidelines, the KU coaches will be looking to some veteran as well as young talent to help the team find success.
“On the men’s side, Zach Zarda was our top finisher last year at this meet and he’ll be competing at this year’s meet as well,” said Whittlesey. “He’s coming off an injury plagued season last year and we’re really looking to get him out to a great start. We’re expecting him to be the leader of the group on Saturday and to set that tone with his experience and leadership abilities.”
The coaches will be hoping for some veteran leadership to step up this weekend on the women’s side as well.
“On the women’s side, someone who has done a great job this summer is Cori Christensen,” explained Whittlesey. “We’re expecting her to take on a much bigger role on the team this year. She has stepped up as a leader already and we’re expecting her to be in that front group on Saturday.”
Even though the Jayhawks will be sending some veterans through the course this weekend, the main focus, other than bringing home a fifth-straight meet title, is to take stock of the young talent that will be available in this year’s squad. The Jayhawks bolster seven newcomers on each of the men’s and women’s teams as well as eight redshirt freshmen (four men, four women) who hope to move up to the top of their respective teams and impress their coaches in the first meet of the season.
“The things we’ll be looking for on Saturday are pack running and working together in those groups,” Whittlesey concluded. “The main goal all year long is having the athletes learn how to compete together and run as a pack as much as possible and that all starts this weekend.”
Full results, along with a complete recap of the event, will be available on kuathletics.com following completion of the races.
The Jayhawks will travel to Columbia, Mo., on September 10 to face rival Missouri in the Missouri Cross Country Invitational. The men’s team will be going for its third-straight victory in the annual meet, while the women will be looking to bring home a victory for the first time. The men’s 8K race is set to begin at 10 a.m., while the women’s 5K race will start at 10:40 a.m., at Missouri’s home course, the A.L. Gustin Golf Course.