Sep 6, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Cross Country team will kick off the 2013 season Saturday with the J.K. Gold Classic in Augusta, Kan. Last season, the Wildcat men finished fourth in the Classic and the women finished second, seven points behind the host team Wichita State.
This is the Wildcats' first race since the women finished 19th and the men finished 21st at the Midwest Regional Championships last November.
K-State Head Coach Mike Smith expects his team to use the J.K. Gold Classic as a meet to prepare for the rest of the upcoming season.
"It's more of a scrimmage meet for us because it's shorter than our normal distance--it's a 4K meet for the women and a 6K meet for the men," said Smith. "We're focused on the process of getting started with the year and beginning to race. This meet will help shake the rust off of our team."
This Saturday, the Wildcats will compete against host Wichita State, a group of NAIA schools as well as a collection of junior colleges. Smith is looking forward to watching his women's team compete on Saturday.
"Both Laura Galvan and Martina Tresch are capable of scoring low points in every meet on our schedule," Said Smith. "Behind Tresch and Galvan we expect to have Erika Schiller and Mary Frances Donnelly, both of whom were very competitive last year, and should be better this year. We also have added six freshmen from Kansas and Missouri that should give us the kind of depth that I have not had in my 20 years here at K-State."
Smith is excited about having more depth on the men's team than in years' past and hopes this race will help the freshmen get used to the competition at the Big 12 level.
"The 2013 squad is much more balanced than in previous years," said Smith. "We were fortunate enough to add five freshmen and we expect them to contribute right away. The Bachman twins, Jeff and Brett, and Lukas Koch trained well over the summer and are ready to start competing.
Smith said he expects senior Ryan Hershner, sophomore Logan Smith, the Bachmans and Koch to be the men's team's top five this Saturday.
The Wildcats will be without the services of junior Fernando Roman due to an injury over the summer. Roman finished first in last year's J.K. Gold Classic and was awarded the Big 12 Runner of the Week for his first place finish.
For Smith, the loss of Roman is a tough one for an already new-look K-State men's squad.
"Without Fernando, there are some unknowns regarding the pecking order of this team," Smith said. "We hope to get his competitive season started in the next month or so."
Out of the teams competing in the meet, Smith expects Wichita State to be the most competitive.
"On the men's side, Wichita State is similar to us so it should be close between our two teams," Smith said. "On the women's side, we've been able to win the meet in past years with fewer runners."
Following Saturday's races, the Wildcats will head to the Woody Greeno Invitational on Sept. 21 in Lincoln, Neb. For more information regarding K-State Cross Country, please visit kstatesports.com.