Standout Kansas cross country runners sophomore Ally Ryan and senior Michael Melgares led their teams to victory as they topped their respective women's and men's races at the Rim Rock Classic on Oct. 5.
The Rim Rock Classic featured 13 men's teams and 14 women’s teams from schools such as Creighton, Nebraska and Oral Roberts. The race provided sufficient early-season competition that will help the Jayhawks in a tough upcoming schedule.
In the women's race, Ryan ran the six kilometers in 22:59.3 and added another first place finish to her second season. Four other Jayhawks — juniors Cameron Gueldner, Catherine Liggett, freshman Kalea Chu and senior Riley Cooney — crossed the finish line in the top 10.
For the men, Melgares crossed the line with a time of 25:47.4 in the eight-kilometer race. Running well as a pack, three other runners — senior Dylan Hodgson, sophomores Jake Ralston and John Luder — placed in the top 10.
The Jayhawks sustained success even after an inclement weather delay, which led them to navigate muddy, slick course conditions. Experiencing a race like this early in the season gives the Kansas runners an upper hand further into the season as weather conditions worsen.
“I love that we had to deal with that,” assistant coach Michael Whittlesey said in a Kansas Athletics press release. “You have to be a lot tougher … You’re not worrying about times. You just got to go out there and fight through it.”
Now, the Jayhawks must regroup after their sweep performance and focus their energy on their next race on Oct. 19. The Jayhawks will take on the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Indiana.