TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Kansas junior Reid Buchanan concluded his 2013 cross country campaign with a 142nd-place at the NCAA Championships held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course Saturday afternoon. Buchanan completed the 10K course in 31:44.0 and earned the best finish by a Jayhawk at the national race in seven years.
“I wasn’t that nervous before the race but the atmosphere certainly made things exciting,” said Buchanan following the race. “The mud and the freezing temperatures made conditions for the race pretty difficult. I didn’t get out very well at the start of the race but I thought I closed well in the last 500 meters or so. I think having a team there to run with and fight for when the conditions are tough would have really helped today. That will definitely be the goal for next year.”
With a wind chill in the low 20’s and a rain soaked coarse to deal with, Buchanan set out in his first career NCAA Championship race in hopes of becoming the 27th All-American in Kansas cross country history. It was no easy task though, with over 250 of the top collegiate distance runners in the U.S. filling the starting blocks alongside him.
Over the first 3,000 meters, the enormous pack of runners made it difficult for the Manhattan, Kan., native to work his way up toward the leaders. He posted a 3K split of 8:47 and stood in 156th with two of the six miles under his belt.
As the field spread out through the next 2,000 meters Buchanan made a huge jump in the standings, moving up almost 50 spots and checking in at the halfway mark in 109th with 15:23.8 away on the race clock. His placement slipped though over the next two miles and he saw himself sitting in 147th has he headed into the final 2,000 meters.
As he had done all year, Buchanan again ended his race strong and posted a final 2K split of 6:33.7 to move ahead of a handful of runners down the closing stretch and cross the finish among the top-150 finishers.
Buchanan posted a final time of 31:44.0 to finish 142nd overall and, while he missed earning All-American accolades by just under a minute, his place marked the best finish by a Jayhawk at the NCAA Championships in seven years.
With the 2013 cross country season now complete, Buchanan and the rest of the Jayhawks will now turn their attention toward the indoor track & field campaign, slated to begin in just two weeks. Kansas will kick off the season with the Bob Timmons Challenge on Saturday, Dec. 7 in Lawrence at the meet scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., inside Anschutz Pavilion.