Tresch Wins J.K. Gold Classic, Men First

AUGUSTA, Kan. - The Kansas State cross country teams kicked off their 2009 seasons in style Saturday at the 61st annual J.K. Gold Classic, with the men's team taking home the title and the women's squad tying with with Wichita State for first-place.

In a stellar collegiate event debut, K-State freshman Martina Tresch captured the individual championship in the women's 4K race, while junior Marius Sava of Wichita State crossed first in the men's 6K race.

It was an impressive outing for the Wildcats women's team, which was led by Tresch with a time of 13:48.99. Following Tresch, K-State junior Sydney Messick closed with a second-place finish and a time of 13:52.23, nearly 20 seconds ahead of the next competitor. Behind Tresch and Messick, a squad of Wildcat runners crossed the line in places seven-nine-11-12-13 as Boglarka Bozzay, Megan-Anne Perrin, Alyssa Bellinder, Emilee Morris and Laura Lee Baird provided the Wildcats with enough support to force the first-place tie with host Wichita State. Senior leader Beverly Ramos, who finished 55th in the NCAA meet last season, did not compete on Saturday.

"Martina came into this meet having never run in a collegiate race before and she wins it," said head coach Michael Smith. "That is something to be proud about. This meet was about getting into the competitive mode and our top two ran really well, significantly better than last year. And when we add Beverly to the mix, we will have a very strong top three runners."

Sophomore Bozzay did not compete in this meet last year, however she also had a notable race on Saturday finishing among her teammates and placing seventh overall out of the 52 competitors.

Following the women's race, the men crossed the finish line with an overall score of 30 to earn first place in the 6K race over second-place Wichita State, which finished with a score of 40. Leading the charge for the men was sophomore Armando Del Valle who finished third with a time of 19:03.66, trailing the race leader by just 10 seconds.

"I was feeling good before the race," said Del Valle. "Coach Smith always talks about the importance of training and he has done a great job with us. As a team, I think we did a good job. We all finished pretty close and that is why we got the trophy. I'm glad I could do that for our university."

Freshman Mitch Loring started off his college career strong, finishing sixth overall and second among his Wildcat teammates with a 19:10.51 finish time.

Kansas State will continue action Saturday, Sept. 19 in Springfield, Mo.