Kansas Men's Cross Country Team Places Sixth at NCAA Pre-Nationals
Oct. 14, 2006
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -
The University of Kansas men's cross country team placed sixth in the White Race at the NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., defeating several highly-ranked national teams Juniors Paul Hefferon and Colby Wissel led the charge for the Jayhawks, placing 13th and 14th respectively.
Competing in the open division, the KU women's team placed second behind a 20th-place performance from junior Lisa Morrisey. The Ottawa, Kan., native ran the 6k event in 21:39, cutting nearly 30 seconds from last year's race.
Hefferon and Wissel, both members of the 2005 All-Big 12 team, improved significantly from their times at the event last season. Hefferon finished in 23:50, slashing nearly 30 seconds, while Wissel's 23:52 marked a nearly 45-second improvement.
Senior Benson Chesang placed third on the team, 30th overall, in a time of 24:09. Seniors Erik Sloan and Matt French rounded out the men's top-five finishers, placing 101st in 24:51 and 121st in 25:00, respectively. Junior Patrick McGowan also fared well at the meet, placing 137th in a time of 25:08, slicing nearly 90 seconds from his time a year ago.
Going into the race unranked, the KU men defeated a bevy of nationally-ranked squads. The Jayhawk men defeated No. 14 Michigan, No. 9 BYU, No. 16 Virginia, No. 28 Eastern Michigan, No. 19 William and Mary and No. 20 Arizona State. The men's races were seeded and divided into two races, a white and a blue race. Colorado won the men's blue race while Iona won the men's white race.
"Our performance today is definitely a step in the right direction," Hefferon said. "The difference between this year's team and last year is that we are a veteran squad and that we don't get excited about every step. We're gearing more towards the November meets than we are the October meets."
"Today's race was a definite improvement. But we also know that the Big 12 Conference is one of the toughest cross country conferences in the nation. I think now we have the confidence, toughness and talent to be a team talked about."
Junior Alicia McGregor placed second on the KU women's team, 41st overall, in 22:20. She was followed by freshmen Kellie Schneider and Lauren Bonds, who placed 85th (22:45) and 90th (22:49) overall. Senior Melissa Moody rounded out the women's top-five finishers, placing 94th in a time of 22:52. The Smithville, Mo., native cut over two minutes from her time from last year.
"I think today we really packed well," Moody said. "I believe that will be a key in the upcoming conference meet. We need to maintain a pack that starts strong and pulls people along."
"Although all the girls cut their times today, we're still not satisfied. Our times are constantly improving and that is showing itself in our results. This year's squad is closer as a group and we're all improving."
Coach Stanley Redwine was pleased with both team's performances.
"The guys did a better job today," Redwine said. "They are coming together at the right time. In two weeks, we'll be better than we were today. Placing sixth at this prestigious event is a very good sign. Time wise, our top three runners were good, but we can improve from our one to five runners.."
"The women competed well today. The pack was really good today. Running together as they did, Coach Clark and I hope will pay off with a better result at the conference meet."
The Jayhawks return to action on Oct. 27 when they compete in the Big 12 Conference Championships. The event will be held at Rim Rock Farm and represents the first conference championship event Kansas has hosted in Lawrence. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with the girls 6k race followed by the men's 8k race at 11 a.m. Check back with kuathletics.com for more information on the event.