Cats Travel to Illinois for Midwest Regionals

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State cross country teams will complete their regular season with a trip to Peroria, Ill., for the Midwest Region Championships hosted by Bradley University on Saturday. The action begins at Newman Golf Course with the women’s 6,000-meter race at 11 a.m., followed by the men’s 10,000-meter event at 12:15.

 

Fresh off All-Big 12 honors from the Big 12 Championships in Lubbock, Texas, junior Liliani Mendez looks to capitalize on her standout season by leading the Cats for the fourth time in row while anticipating a trip to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 19.

 

The women’s team will also look to sophomore Beverly Ramos for a strong outing in her first Midwest Regional Championship of her career. In her first year under head coach Michael Smith, Ramos has established herself as one of the top young runners in the Big 12 Conference by winning two events and being recognized as the Big 12 Runner of the Week on Sept. 18.

 

“Liliani and Beverly are NCAA-caliber on the track for sure but in cross country they have yet to break through,” said Smith. “Our region is very good and it will be tough for them to advance but that is another reason to go, for them to take a shot at qualifying.”

 

Junior Alex Umberger will look to continue to lead the Cats on Saturday, as he has now paced the men in eight straight events dating back to last season. The native of Wichita, Kan., will put his personal 10,000-meter record of 31:44.90 (10/15/05) to the test as the men run their first 10,000-meter race of the season.

 

Danny Schneider has been a consistent force behind Umberger this season, finishing second in every competition among Wildcat runners. The pair has raced in every event this season. Junior Colin Swaney will continue his abbreviated 2007 campaign by competing in just his third race of the season. Swaney looks to improve on his 68th-place finish (32:56.79) from last year’s Midwest Regional Championships, five spots behind Umberger at 63rd.

 

In order to qualify for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 10, either team must finish in the top two on Saturday or be selected among the 13 at-large teams to be announced on Sunday. The top-four runners from each region that do not belong to a selected or qualified team will represent their schools as individuals in Terre Haute, Ind. The last individual to represent K-State in the NCAA cross country championships was Mathew Chesang during the 2004 season.

 

Results from the Midwest Regional Championships will be posted at www.k-statesports.com as they become available.