Coming off of a 36th-place team finish from the women and a 19th-place team finish from the men in the Pre-National Invitational, Kansas cross country looks optimistic heading into the Big 12 Championship on Nov. 2.
The teams, led by sophomore Ally Ryan and freshman Chandler Gibbens, prepared differently for the meet, coach Stanley Redwine said. On the women's side, Redwine told Kansas Athletics they “didn’t compete well at all, didn’t run well together as a group.” On the other hand, the mens’ team “ran well together as a pack.” He said “more good came out of this race than bad.”
The women placed third in the championship last year thanks to then-senior Sharon Lokedi, then-freshman Ally Ryan, then-freshman McKenzie Wilks, and then-senior Riley Cooney, who clenched spots in the top 25. Men finished just behind with a team placing fourth, with their top six runners all finishing in the top 25.
Ryan, who has led the team on multiple occasions this season, finished the 2018 Big 12 Championship second for the Jayhawks with a time of 20:55.1. So far this season, Ryan completed the Rim Rock Classic in 22:59.3, and the Pre-National Invitational in 21:44.3. Ryan will need to shave down a little under a minute in order to beat her previous 6K time.
Junior Ben Butler also finished second for the Jayhawks in the championship last season. He ran the championship in 24:14.8. This season, he is on track to run around the same time, finishing the Pre-National Invitational in 24:21.8.
The women's team was defeated by Iowa State and Oklahoma State, who both took to the course with a fairly young team, losing few leading senior runners. Iowa State will be running without then-seniors Anne Frisbie and Kelly Naumann. Oklahoma State will be without then-seniors Dodd Kaylee and Grace Baker.
The men were also defeated by Iowa State and Oklahoma State, as well as Texas. Iowa State and Oklahoma State will be tough competitors once again, losing only one senior each in their top line-up: then-senior Dan Curts from Iowa State and then-senior Luis Martinez from Oklahoma State.
The teams will compete in the 24th annual Big 12 Cross Country Championship on Nov. 2 at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Club in Waco, Texas. The men’s 8K will start at 10 a.m., followed by the women’s 6K at 11 a.m.