TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - For the second time in his career, Colby Wissel is an All-American. The senior placed 39th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships held in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 19. His time of 30:36 was the second fastest 10K of his career.
Wissel joins an elite list of KU runners who have been named back-to-back All-Americans. The last person to do it was Billy Mills in 1958-`59. Preceding him were Jerry McNeal (1956, '57), Al Frame (1954, '55) and Bob Karnes (1947- '48).
All-American status is given out to the top 25 runners and the top 30 American-born runners in the race. Fourty-four runners were given the honor that nearly eluded Wissel during the race.
"I got out pretty well, then I hit a rut and struggled a while," Wissel said. "I got tangled up with a kid from Lousiville. I fell down at the 2,000 meter mile mark, I got on my feet and I was upset, then I fell way back."
Wissel, a native of Elm Creek, Neb., went from 42nd place to the mid 60's after his fall. It wasn't until a harsh kick to the finish that Wissel made it to the top 44 that ended up being the difference between All-American and receiving no honors. Siome Kiplagat from Louisville, the man he got tangled up with, placed 65th.
Wissel ends his cross country career with numerous accolades including All-Midwest Region (2005, `06, `07), All-Big 12 First Team (2005, '06, '07), 2006 Big 12 Champion and All-American in 2006 and 2007. However, Wissel remains humble when reflecting upon his times as a Jayhawk.
"Inconsistent would be the word that comes to mind," Wissel said. "But at the same time making All-American twice, winning the Big 12 Conference and being on a team that finished 12th (2005), those are the highlights. Through it all I had great teammates to help me out. It was a good experience overall."
Josh McDougal of Liberty won the men's race with a time of 29:22. Oregon took home the men's National Championship.
Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego won her second National Championship in the women's field. Stanford won the team title for the women.
For complete information on the NCAA Cross Country Championships, visit www.ustfccca.org.