When it comes to starting a season, it can't get much better than sweeping the first contest, which is exactly what both the Kansas men's and women's cross country teams did at the Bob Timmons Classic at Rim Rock Farm.
There was also added adversity, as the meet's start time was moved up an hour earlier to avoid excessive heat later on in the day.
Even with the added weather conditions, both the Kansas men and women had a clean sweep of the top five runners in their dual meet victories over UMKC and Oral Roberts.
Most of the focus for the team was to look to improve and shake off some the off-season rust. Sophomore Catherine Liggett, who placed first in the women’s 5,000-meter race with a time of 18:14, felt that the meet was a great way to get back in the swing of things.
“I think for all of us, it’s about shaking off the rust. It’s tough," Liggett said. "We haven’t really started interval work yet so we just have a lot of tempo under our belt. It’s just good to come out and focus on getting that feeling of what it’s like to race again.”
Liggett was also very impressed with the team’s ability to run as a pack and finish strong.
“I’m really excited for this season in general for our whole team," Liggett said. "Our goal was to go out there and run together as a pack because when it comes down to it our goal is to have our first to seventh runner run together. I think we really did that well today.”
On the men's side, sophomore Chace Hale led the way for the Jayhawks, clocking in at 19:25.3 to finish first in the 6,000-meter race.
“I was feeling good. I tried not to think about a lot of stuff Just tried to go out and race.” Hale said.
After battling injuries last season, both men's and women's cross country look to use their past experiences to propel them forward this year.
Hale was one of five Jayhawk runners who ran the course in under 20 minutes. A further four unattached Kansas runners also finished under the 20 minute mark. From the start of the meet, the Jayhawk men ran well as a pack as they had six runners finish in the top 11 of the race.
Kansas coach Stanley Redwine saw a lot of things he liked early from his team, albeit with some room for improvement.
“I thought the team did a really good job today. They competed really well as a team,” Redwine said. “The women stretched it out a little bit at the end. We had to correct that but the women did really well and the men I was just truly amazed at.”
The Kansas men's and women's cross country will return to Rim Rock Farm in the Rim Rock Collegiate Classic on Sept. 29 as they take on Oklahoma State.