?Cats to Compete at Midwest Region Championships

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State cross county teams will head to Springfield, Mo., on Saturday to compete in the Midwest Region Championships hosted by Missouri State. The action begins at the Missouri State Cross Country Course with the men's 10K race at noon, followed by the women's 6K race following at 1:15 p.m.

The Wildcats ran on the Missouri State Cross Country Course earlier this season at the Missouri State Classic and hope the course familiarity will prove to be a slight advantage.

According to the most recent USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Poll, the Wildcat women will enter the championship race with a No. 7 ranking in the region. One of nine regions in the nation, the Midwest Region is comprised of 33 Division-I schools including some of the top teams in the nation in Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa State and Iowa.

Coming off of All-Big 12 honors from the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo., senior Beverly Ramos and junior Sydney Messick will look to lead the charge for the Wildcat women for the third time in a row while hoping to earn a trip to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on November 23.

In order to qualify for the NCAA Championships, teams must finish in the top two in their regional championship or be selected among the 13 at-large teams. 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.

Head Coach Michael Smith's teams have improved meet after meet throughout the season and will look to run to their fullest potential on Saturday. The women will need strong performances from their middle runners to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

After her sixth-place finish at the Midwest Region Championships last season, Ramos went on to represent K-State as an individual in the NCAA Championships, where she finished 55th out of 252 other competitors. Ramos is the last K-State runner to compete in the NCAA Championships since Matthew Chesang during the 2004 season.

The Wildcat men, who are currently not ranked in the regional polls, will look to close their season strong and utilize the championship competition to gain experience and take a step toward improvement before going into the offseason. Freshman Tom O'Connell hopes to pave the way for the men for the third consecutive time this year. O'Connell finished 74th at the Big 12 Championships last week with an 8K time of 27:08.78.

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