K-State Cross Country opens 2006 season in Lawrence

MANHATTAN, Kan.-  The Kansas State men’s and women’s cross country teams will open their 2006 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Bob Timmons Invitational in Lawrence, Kan. The meet will be held at Rim Rock Farm, which is also the site of the Big 12 Championship meet later this season.


“One of our reasons to go to this meet is to see what’s to come for the Big 12 meet,” commented head coach Michael Smith. “(Rim Rock) is one of the most challenging courses around. It’s very hilly and all grass. For the kids who aren’t from Kansas, it’s important to see this course.”


Both Wildcat teams will not run full squads this weekend. The meet will be looked at as a preseason contest, and will hopefully help gain experience for the young K-State runners. Underclassmen make up 17 of the 23 Wildcat harriers. Full lineups can be anticipated on Sept. 23, when the Wildcats travel to Minneapolis, Minn. for the Roy Griak Invitational.


Helping lead the men’s squad this weekend will be sophomore Alex Umberger. After a productive freshman season, the Maize, Kan., product is looking forward to the meet and starting to understand what he has to do to be successful at the collegiate level.


“My freshman year, I was just part of the squad and was going through the motions,” said Umberger. “Now I know the intensity of the workouts that I need to be having. I know what I need to do to compete at this level.”


Along with a number of area schools, K-State will get to see a copule of Big 12 opponents at the early season meet. This should prove to be an early test for the young Wildcats.


“We’ll see Kansas and Oklahoma this weekend,” said Smith. “Oklahoma’s women are very good. I want to see how our top runners can compete with theirs. Kansas has a lot of depth. The KU men’s team was a top-12 team at the NCAA meet last year.”


Overall, Smith is hoping to have his teams gain experience from this meet for success in the 2006 season.


“We hope that our freshmen get used to the new distance, and our sophomores get used to competing at the distances they were introduced to as freshman,” said Smith. “We also want to see what we can do on the Big 12 course, and hopefully get ready for it when we come back in October.”


Results from the Bob Timmons Invitational will be posted at www.k-statesports.com as soon as they become available.