After coming off a clean sweep at the Bob Timmons Classic, Kansas cross country followed that up on Saturday morning with first place finishes for both the men's and women's teams at the Rim Rock Classic.
The Jayhawks competed under much different circumstances than at their first competition of the year, albeit at the same location of Rim Rock Farm. Beginning the season with the Bob Timmons Classic being moved up due to a heat advisory, Kansas' runners adjusted well to the chilly conditions that were presented to them at the Rim Rock Classic.
Two-time Big 12 champion and All-American senior Sharon Lokedi came in first place for the women’s team, with a time of 19:49 in the women’s 6,000 meter race.
The women's team, led by Lokedi, had four runners secure top ten finishes.
Lokedi did not compete at the Bob Timmons Classic, so the senior was glad to finally get a race under her belt for her final cross country season.
“It was pretty emotional, just running it and knowing it's your last time running here, wearing Kansas across your chest," Lokedi said, according to a Kansas Athletics press release. "I've had so much fun running here and it felt great having a lot of people cheering and running it here with all of the fans and my team and my coaches. It was sad, but I'm just so happy and so grateful I got to run here for four years and that I got to run a good race today to kick off my season.”
Sophomore Catherine Liggett, who found great success at the Bob Timmons Classic finishing first with a time of 18:14, was not able to stay consistent in the Rim Rock Classic, finishing with a time of 22:12 and an 11th place finish.
On the men's side, senior Dylan Hodgson paced the way for the Jayhawks, finishing with a time 24:30 and a second place finish in the 8,000 meter run, finishing behind an unattached runner.
Not far behind were fellow senior Michael Melgares (24:38) and sophomore Ben Butler (24:43). Melgares and Butler secured fourth and fifth places finishes, respectively.
Assistant coach Michael Whittlesey was appreciative of how the men's team worked together during the race.
“On the men's side, we did a really nice job of keeping that pack tight for a long time," Whittlesey said according to the release. "Our number five runner fell off around the four-mile mark and we just need to tighten that up a little bit more. I thought they did a really nice job of running the team concept race that we were trying to get done.”
Kansas was able to build upon success they have seen in the past, as well as compete against high-level competition, including in-state rival Kansas State.
According to Lokedi, this competition served as great preparation for Pre-Nationals on Oct. 13.
“From here on, we have Pre-Nats two weeks from now, so just looking forward to that and just going back and keep working,” Lokedi said. “Just working as a team and just hoping for a great season ahead."
The men’s and women’s cross country team will make their way to Madison, Wisconsin, on Oct. 13 for the Pre-National Invitational, hosted by Wisconsin.