LAWRENCE, Kan. - Senior Colby Wissel will represent the University of Kansas at the NCAA Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind. on Monday Nov. 19. There he will have a chance to do something only four Jayhawks have done before, become a two time cross country All-American.
Wissel would join Bob Karnes (1947-48), Al Frame (1954-55), Jerry McNeal (1956-57) and Billy Mills (1958-59) as the only Jayhawks to be named All-American twice.
"I think at a school like Kansas that has had so many good runners," Wissel said. "Just the longevity of guys not being able to do it back-to-back speaks of the difficulty that it's hard to do that. For me to do that would be very rewarding."
The meet will once again be hosted by Indiana State University and held at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course. It is a course that Wissel is very familiar with. Between the NCAA Pre-Nationals and now his third trip to Nationals, it will be the seventh time he will compete on those grounds.
"They've had Nationals there every year since I've been here," Wissel said. "It's a pretty flat course, so strategy doesn't really play a part in it. So I don't really think that even though I've run there many times, I don't have a competitive advantage over the next guy."
Last year, the competitors ran on a muddy course. As a team, Kansas finished 20th out of 31 teams. Wissel placed 26th in a slower than usual 10K time of 31:34.3.
"I think if it is muddier or bad weather. I'll probably hang back in the beginning, but if it's a fast day I've got to get out quick and start mixing it up," Wissel said.
The weather should be ideal for running. The forecast calls for a high of 56 degrees and sunny.
The field is stacked with the best runners in the country. Even though there were 10 seniors that finished in front of Wissel at last year's Championships, the Elm Creek, Neb. native knows to win this meet will take his best race ever and some luck.
"I could have the race of my life and get 15th," Wissel said. "First and foremost, I want to make All-American. I think I can get close to 20th. But if I run the race of my life and get 20th or 30th, I can't get mad because I can't control what the other runners do."
For the first time ever, the NCAA is bringing the nation a live telecast of the Men and Women's Cross Country Championships on College Sports TV. The NCAA partnered with the USTFCCCA and CSTV to telecast the event from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It will also be webcast live by CSTV at www.ustfccca.org.
The men's race starts at 12:05 p.m. and the women's begins at 12:55 p.m.
Stay tuned to www.kuathletics.com or www.ustfccca.org for results following the race.