PEORIA, Ill. – The Kansas State cross country teams completed their 2007 seasons at the Midwest Regional Championships hosted by Bradley University on Saturday. The women’s team captured 11th-place, while the men’s team finished 17th.
The women’s team was led to an 11th-place finish (303 points) by Liliani Mendez and Beverly Ramos at 15th and 16th, respectively. Both runners set a career record in the 6,000-meter race at Newman Golf Course. Mendez finished with a time of 20:50, nearly a 13 second improvement from the 2006 season. Ramos clocked a time of 20:51, improving her career-best time of 21:19.50 set this season at the Pre-NCAA Championships (10/13).
“I thought that was the best team race that we have had all year,” head coach Michael Smith said. “Beverly and Liliani started out very conservative in the race and moved up really well. They ran the fastest that they have run all year and they competed quite well.”
Senior Morgan Bonds (22:17), freshman Sydney Messick (22:19), senior Liz Rea (22:29) and sophomore Megan-Anne Perrin (23:04) also finished their 2007 campaigns with career-best times in the 6,000-meter race.
Junior Alex Umberger led the men for the ninth straight time, helping the men’s team place 11th overall with a team score of 318. The native of Maize, Kan. finished 53rd with a 10,000-meter time of 31:49, coming within five seconds of his career-best, 31:44.90, set Oct. 15, 2005.
Colin Swaney was the next Wildcat to finish, with a time of 31:56 in his third race of the season, good for 61st. Tyler Fennema finished 103rd with a time of 33:10.
Oklahoma State and Minnesota captured first and second in the men’s race, while Minnesota and Illinois placed first and second in the women’s race, respectively. Those four teams received an automatic bid for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 19, in Terre Haute, Ind.
As the Wildcats close the book on the 2007 season and look toward next season, Smith knows that they have made improvements but still have more progress to make.
“On the whole we want to be more competitive at the conference level with both of our teams,” said Smith. “The runners that we have need to improve and we need to bring in more runners that can run at this level. We have to rise to the level of this conference, as (the Big 12) gets better; we need to get better too. Looking back on the season, a lot of individuals went in the right direction and I would hope that we would continue to do that.”