Sept. 27, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State cross country teams will run this Saturday when they participate at the Rim Rock Classic in Lawrence. K-State's women are looking to build off a solid performance two weeks ago at the Woody Greeno Invitational while the men hope to rebound from a subpar showing. The men will run the 8K at 9 a.m. while the women will run the 6K at 10 a.m.
The women's team placed third with 67 points, losing to Air Force who won with 33 points and South Dakota who placed second with 57 points. On an individual level, the women's team was able to earn three top 15 finishes as well. Meanwhile, the men placed seventh with 230 points. The Air Force Academy won by scoring 25 points and South Dakota finished second by scoring 37 points.
Sophomore Laura Galvan continued her strong start to the season by winning the women's meet with a time of 21:10.9. She also finished as the runner-up at the JK Gold Classic to open the season. Sophomore Erika Schiller and freshman Mary Frances Donnelly also performed well in Nebraska as Schiller placed 10th with a time of 22:14.1 and Donnelly claimed 15th with a time 22:27.
Fernando Roman earned the best time for the men's team. The sophomore, who was Big 12 Runner of the Week during the week of September 1, placed 43rd with a time of 26:22.45.
This week's trip to the Rim Rock Classic will be the first time the Wildcats have ever competed there. As soon as they were invited, Coach Michael Smith said he was very excited.
"It's close to home and it's a good course," Smith said. "A lot of our athletes are from Kansas, so they've ran on that course before. What a great opportunity for them to participate collegiately on a course that they ran in high school where their families can come watch them. We were told good teams were coming so we jumped at the chance to go to this meet, and we're happy we get to go."
Smith is excited about the competition the Rim Rock Classic will bring on the men's side for the 8K race.
"There will be 15 teams competing and out of those, nine are NCAA Division I. The Rim Rock Classic will be highlighted by 11th ranked Indiana as well as Big 12 schools we haven't raced yet, including host Kansas and Texas Tech," Smith said. "Nebraska, New Mexico State, Rice, UMKC and Air Force are other participating schools. We are certainly looking forward to competing against better quality teams because there is more NCAA Division I teams."
Smith is also looking forward to seeing the men's team improve from their performance at the Woody Greeno Invitational.
"We didn't feel like we competed as well as we could have as a team. There were individuals who did fine, but as a team we didn't race to our potential. Two or three of our top five runners are freshman and they tend to be inconsistent," Smith said.
With two weeks in between the Woody Greeno Invitational and the Rim Rock Classic, Smith hopes the men will be more competitive on Saturday.
"We have had two weeks of productive work and I expect us to be more competitive because the young runners we count on have improved significantly in the last couple of weeks. This is because they've adapted to a longer race and are now thinking like college runners instead of high school runners," Smith said.
Smith noted a few motivating factors that will help the men run well.
"The combination of that, cooler temperatures and the fact that a lot of our men's runners are from the state of Kansas will be extra motivation for them to run well on Saturday. Our expectation is to perform at the level of how we've trained, including focusing on being in the middle of the pack of the NCAA Division I teams," Smith said.
There will also be strong competition in the women's 6K race. Out of the 14 teams participating, eight are NCAA Division I teams. 11th ranked Michigan highlights the field, as well as Big 12 schools such as Kansas and Texas Tech. Smith believes his top three runners performed well at the Woody Greeno Invitational and expects nothing less going forward.
"I expect the top three to continue to make more progress and be more competitive than they were, including now when they compete against Division I athletes," Smith said. "Galvan is expected to lead us. I think we're now about to find out if she's a national caliber athlete or not because if she wins or runs near the front, she'll be running against some of the better athletes in the country. It's a good test for our women's team and Galvan to see how she measures up against a ranked team."
As for the rest of the women's team, Smith is hopeful the Wildcats will continue to show improvement as well.
"I'm hoping for the rest of the women's team to perform better and that will allow us to be more competitive against Kansas and Texas Tech," Smith said. "We would really like to compete against those schools because they are in our conference and that will tell us where we stack up in the conference. Similar to the last meet, we're trying to again be closer to the top of the standings as a team than the bottom. We should be competitive with most of the teams in Saturday's field."
Although the women's team has performed well as a team through two meets this season, they will have to find a way to be competitive for the rest of the season without the team's best runner in Martina Tresch.
"We're going to redshirt Tresch, so we're really a year away from where we want the women's team to be," Smith said. "If Tresch is 100 percent next fall, we would have her and Galvan at the same time, giving us two very strong runners. It's a risk but it's one worth taking."
Following the Rim Rock Classic, the Wildcats will have another two weeks to prepare for their next meet when they participate in the Pre-National Invitational on October 13 in Louisville, Ky. This meet traditionally brings in a number of strong teams as a test run on the course hosting the NCAA Championship.