SE: Smith Optimistic About Young Runners

Martina Tresch and the Wildcats visit Lincoln, Neb., for the Woody Green Invitational this weekend.

Sept. 13, 2012

by Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Young, but talented, and for certain deeper than ever before.

That’s how coach Mike Smith previews his Kansas State cross country team entering competition at the Woody Greeno Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., this weekend.

“We’re still talking basically about how they’re training, but that’s going well and now we need to see how well they can compete,” said Smith, whose runners placed second with the women and fourth with the men on Sept. 1 in a low-key competition at Wichita State. “But we appear to have more up-front talent than we’ve had for years.”

Smith hopes that his women’s team can be in the top half of the Big 12 standings, which he says, “That normally would put us in contention to be involved in the NCAA Championships.”

The leaders of the women’s team are Martina Tresch, Erika Schiller and Laura Galvan, who have all been scorers in Big 12 competitions. Tresch is from Rueti, Switzerland; Schiller from Desoto, Kan.; and Galvan from Guanajuato, Mexico.

Tresch ran ninth at the Big 12 Championships last year and ran 47th at the NCAA championships.

Along with senior Laura Lee Baird of Norton, Kan., other possible newcomers that could help are Mary Frances Donnelly of Prairie Village, Kan.; Sonia Gaskin of St. George, Barbados; Sonja Scheneider of Oberdorf, Switzerland; Julia Nyiro of Parker, Colo.; and, Paige Kochuyt of Overland Park, Kan.

“We were fortunate with some walk-ons that came in with some talent and in shape,” said Smith. “Potentially, we could be pretty good if we can stay healthy.”

With the men’s team, Smith says, “We haven’t had this kind of depth in years. We’re young, but at least we have more bodies out there with some experience at the top.”

At the head of the class are Fernando Roman of Cayey, Puerto Rico; Kyle Hanson of Overland Park, Kan.; and Ryan Herschner of Lexington, Ohio.

Like the women, all are runners who have shown the ability to score in Big 12 competition as Roman scored in the steeplechase outdoors, while Herschner anchored the distance medley relay and Hanson ran the 1,000 and on the relay at the indoor championship meet.

“We haven’t had that type of quality starting out a year in quite some time,” said Smith.

Depth is expected to come from Lance Porter of McPherson, Kan.; Logan Smith of Owasso, Okla.; plus walk-ons from the state of Missouri in Blake Goodin, Joshua McKinley and Daniel Worthington. In addition, freshman Lucas Demott of Olathe, Kan., ran fourth for the Wildcats in the opening meet.

Porter and Hanson ran 71st and 72nd, respectively, last year at the Big 12 cross country championship.

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