Despite being just one of three seniors on the Kansas men’s cross country team in 2017, Chris Melgares revealed Saturday morning that he is considering redshirting his senior year.
Competing in the men’s 6K run at the Bob Timmons Classic, Melgares claimed first place by a large margin, finishing with a time of 18:39.2. His time was 31 seconds ahead of senior teammate Ben Burchstead, who finished second.
Apart from the difference in time between the two runners, there was also one other difference. Burchstead donned the crimson and blue uniform of Kansas, like all of the other Kansas runners, while Melgares wore a full black uniform.
“We want to leave the option open to redshirting this season, so we figured it wouldn’t hurt to run unattached for the first couple of home meets, so I can easily travel there by myself and get a good effort and practice without having to run with the jersey,” Melgares said after the race.
Melgares finished the 2016 cross country season as one of Kansas’ top-two finishers in all four meets he competed in, including a 17th-place finish at the Big 12 Championships on October 29, 2016.
While Melgares said the current plan is to redshirt his senior year and compete in 2018 as a fifth-year senior, coach Stanley Redwine may ask him to reconsider if the huge gulf in class persists later in the season.
However, the Bob Timmons Classic is seen as a warmup meet for many of the athletes, so the gap in time between Melgares and the other runners should decrease later in the season.
Several racers did not compete in the meet, including Melgares’ younger brother, junior Michael Melgares. If Chris were to redshirt his senior year, he and his younger brother Michael could possibly finish their time running at Kansas together.
“It definitely helps being upperclassmen, but what we preach is just everybody leading,” Melgares said on him and his brother leading the team. “So not necessarily just us, but the whole team, we want to set a good example onto the first year freshman to the fifth year seniors.”
Melgares said the practices will start to intensify heading toward the Rim Rock Classic on Sept. 30.
During this time, Melgares will decide whether to don the crimson and blue jersey for 2017, or hold off until the 2018 season arrives.
— Edited by Emma Green