Wildcats Finish Second in JK Gold Classic

AUGUSTA, Kan. The K-State cross country teams kicked off their 2007 seasons at the J.K. Gold Classic on Saturday, Sept. 1, with second place finishes for both the men’s and women’s squad.


Host, Wichita State swept first place for both teams. Kellyn Johnson placed first in the women’s 4K race for the Shockers, while Cloud County freshman Julius Kiptoo placed first in the men’s 6K race.


A native of nearby Maize, Kan., Alex Umberger led the Wildcats, beginning his promising season by finishing third in the event with a 6K time of 18:39. Junior Danny Schneider placed fifth in the meet with a time of 18:42 and showed head coach Michael Smith what he is capable of doing at this level.


“I was pleased to see (Schneider) step up and run at the front of the race,” coach Smith said of Schneider’s performance. “It will help us a lot as we move toward the more competitive meets in the season.”


The women were highlighted with four-five-six individual finishes from Sydney Messick, Anais Galan and Liz Rea. As freshman, it was the first meet for both Messick and Galan for the Wildcats.


“Today I thought our women competed well, given that they are young underclassmen and this is the first race of the season,” said Smith. “They didn’t fold; they didn’t succumb to the pressure; they rose to the challenge and competed well.”


Both teams did not compete with all of their top runners on Saturday. The women sat their top three runners in Liliani Mendez, Morgan Bonds and Emily Dittemore. The men kept team captain Colin Swaney and freshman Mike Sickafoose inactive due to minor injuries; both are expected to compete next week.


The Wildcats have their only home meet of the season on Friday, Sept. 7, as they host the KSU/KU Dual at Warner Park in Manhattan, Kan.