K-State Cross Country Ready for New Season

Sept. 4, 2013K-State Athletics
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State men's and women's cross country team will look to build off of the success from last year as they prepare for the 2013-2014 season.

Head Coach Michael Smith hopes his teams can replicate the same success that included two NCAA Championship qualifiers on the women's team.

Kansas State will kick off the season on Saturday, Sept. 7 where the Wildcats will be in Wichita for the Wichita State Gold Dual Classic. Last season K-State's women finished second behind Wichita State, while the men's team finished fourth. Two weeks later, the Wildcats travel to Lincoln, Neb. for the Woody Greeno Invitational. On Oct. 5, K-State heads to Lawrence, Kan. for the Rim Rock Invitational. K-State then travels to Terre Haute, Ind., on Oct. 19 for the Pre-National Invitational before finishing out out the season with the Big 12 Championship at Waco, Texas on Nov. 2 and the Midwest Region Championship at Ames, Iowa on Nov. 15.

With top talent returning, Smith has high expectations for this season.

"We have finished in the middle of the Big 12 for most of the last five championships," Smith said. "If we can stay healthy this year, I like our chances to get into the top third of the Big 12 and have a shot to make the NCAA meet as a team."

The women's team has four top 30 Big 12 performers returning, as well as two NCAA Championship performers in senior Martina Tresch and junior Laura Galvan. Galvan, who finished seventh at the Midwest Regionals last November, will be looking to build off a strong 2012 season where she placed 45th overall at the NCAA Championships. Senior Martina Tresch, who sat out for the 2012 season, will try and replicate a strong 2011 season that concluded with a 47th overall finish at the NCAA Championships, where she broke the school record in the 6K with a time of 20:19.5.

Coach Smith believes that the duo of Tresch and Galvan has the potential to be special.

"This is probably our best 1-2 punch since [Korene] Hinds and [Amy] Mortimer led K-State in 1999-2000," Smith said.

Both Hinds and Mortimer finished in the top 15 at the NCAA Championships that year.

After Tresch and Galvan, the Wildcats women's team will be anchored by junior Erika Schiller and sophomore Mary Frances Donnelly. Schiller is coming off a season where she recorded four top 25 finishes while Donnelly is looking to build upon a strong freshman campaign that was highlighted by a 23rd-place finish at the Big 12 Championships last fall. Incoming freshmen Morgan Wedekind, Jennifer McCarty, Madison Hopfinger and Heather Ruder will be expected to provide depth to what looks to be a strong women's cross country squad. The K-State women will start the season ranked 13th in the Midwest Region, one of three Big 12 squads to rank in the top 15.

The men's team will look to be a competitive force in the Big 12 this year with junior Fernando Roman and senior Ryan Hershner returning to lead the men's team. Both Roman and Hershner finished in the top 60 at the Big 12 Championships last year. The K-State men will have plenty of youth this season as the men's roster will have six incoming freshmen for the 2013 season.