Cross Country Opens 2016 Season at Augustana Twilight

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State cross country team will look for a fast start to the 2016 season as the team makes its way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to compete in the Augustana Twilight at Yankton Trail Park on Friday evening. 

K-State will travel 19 student-athletes to the team’s first competition in the Mount Rushmore State since the 2009 season, with the race slated to begin at 8 p.m. CT. 

“I am looking forward to this race,” head coach
Ryun Godfrey said about the team’s 2016 season opener. “We have only had two weeks of practice and three quality workouts. It has been a decent start. The race will be more of a true tell of where we are fitness-wise.”

The men are coming off a strong 2015 season, highlighted by a sixth place at the Big 12 Championship, the team’s best finish at the conference meet since 1998. The Wildcats will also return its entire roster from last season, including junior
Colton Donahue, who recorded a 16th-place finish at the Big 12 Championship.

Godfrey has high hopes for many of the male runners, including sophomore
Joe Gorthy, heading into the opening race of 2016. 

“I think Joe will be racing close to Colton because he has been doing it in practice,” Godfrey said. “It would be nice to see him doing that in a race.
Lukas Koch and Kurt Loevenstein have been at the tail end during practice, so I am hoping they will race better than what they have been showing in practice.”

The Wildcats also added six new freshmen to the cross country squad for 2016. Godfrey is looking for big things from one freshman in particular, Olathe, Kansas, native
Nicholas Skinner

“Nicholas has been looking good in practice as a true freshman,” Godrey said. “It is hard to put a lot of expectation on a freshman right off the bat, but I think he will do well.”

On the women’s side, the Wildcats will look to senior
Morgan Wedekind and junior Kayla Doll to lead a team of predominantly underclassmen, including seven freshmen. Wedekind stole the show in 2015, finishing 10th at the Big 12 Championship race and 23rd at the Midwest Regional Championship, earning her Midwest All-Region team honors. Sophomore Emma Wren will also be in the mix this season and Godfrey is expecting big things from her on Friday night. 

“I think Emma can run up close with Kayla,” Godfrey said. “I think those two should be close to each other and hopefully they can help each other out. Morgan is in pretty good shape but she is dealing with some allergies right now, so I am not sure how she will race.”

Even with a strong top three on the women’s team, Godfrey is unsure who will step up this season and fill the next three spots on the team. 

“We have three solid girls at the top, but we do not have a fourth, fifth and sixth runner on the women’s side,” Godfrey added. “It is wide open. I do not know how we will fill in that gap yet. Hopefully some of the freshman can step in there and fill those spots.”

More information on the race, including meet information, can be found 
here. Live results for the race are also available by clicking here.  

For the latest on K-State cross country, follow @kstatesports and @KStateTFXC on Twitter or Kansas State Track & Field/Cross Country on Facebook.