Roman Takes Title at JK Gold Classic

Sophomore Fernando Roman won the individual title at the JK Gold Classic in Wichita on Saturday.

Sept. 1, 2012

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AUGUSTA, Kan. – K-State sophomore Fernando Roman ran past the field Saturday in a time of 18:37 to win the JK Gold Classic as the men finished fourth and the women second in the cross country teams’ first action of the season.

Roman made his K-State debut Saturday and the Puerto Rican said he felt good despite facing tough elements throughout the race.

“We had a delay in the race so we started pretty late,” Roman said. “The heat made me feel hot. My legs felt good at first but they got tired when I got to the 4K point. I stayed with the Wichita State runner who was ahead of me until the last few meters and then I was able to pass him and win the race.”

Roman believed his win was a sign of things to come for himself and the men’s team as a whole.

“I’ve been working hard the whole summer. I hope I can get better and keep doing a good job for K-State," said Roman. "We have a good team and can make it to the top six in the Big 12 Conference. By winning the JK Gold Classic, this makes me feel good about the rest of the season. We need to keep working hard as a team in order to keep winning and doing our best in the Big 12.”

Head Coach Michael Smith was pleased with Ramon but was disappointed with results of the men’s team as a unit.

“That’s the fastest we’ve ever had a men’s athlete run that course,” Smith said. “Although Roman won the race, we’re still relying on a lot of our young freshmen to make our top five. We have inexperienced runners on our team, and that’s what showed today.”

The women’s team finished in second place just behind Wichita State despite being without the services of its top runner, Martina Tresch. There were three top five finishes, including two sophomores and a freshman that led the way. Sophomores Laura Galvan and Erika Schiller finished second and third, respectively, and freshman Mary Frances Donnelly finished fifth. After the race, Galvan said she was pleased with her performance.

“I’m really excited about how I did because it was a big improvement from last season.  It was a good way to start the season. It definitely gives me confidence,” Galvan said. “I want to help contribute to the team as much as I can, and this was a good start.”

Similar to Roman, Galvan also dealt with the elements throughout her race.

“It was hot, but that’s something we have to go through. Once we’re there, we have to deal with it. Hopefully it’s not as hot during the next meet so it’ll be better,” Galvan said. “At the end, I’m glad I made it through and performed as well as I did.”

Coach Smith felt like the performance of the women’s team was solid, but it also could have been better.

“Galvan, Schiller and Donnelly all performed at a high level for us,” said Smith. “Had we had Tresch, we could have won the meet as a team but we decided to give her a few more weeks to train because of her injuries from last season. She’s healthy but we made a conscious decision to hold her out. I’m looking for Laura Lee Baird and Paige Kochuyt to improve off of their 11th and 12th place finishes respectively in the next meet.”

K-State is back on the course September 15 when the Wildcats travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the Woody Greeno Invitational.