TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Junior Reid Buchanan collected a 37th-place finish and led the Kansas men's cross country team to a 14th-place finish at the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course. Sophomore Hannah Richardson was the top Jayhawk finisher on the women's side and led the group to finish 36th. Both the men's and women's races featured over 300 runners and many of the top-ranked teams in the nation at the meet that was hosted at the site of the NCAA Championships in November.
“We had some individuals run well but I feel we’re a lot better than where we ran today,” said assistant cross country coach Michael Whittlesey. “There were definitely some positives to take away but we need to get our packs back running together and improve on the tactical aspects of the race. That will be key in the meets the rest of this season.”
Buchanan, who hails from Manhattan, Kan., was the top finisher on the men's side for the first time this season. The junior was joined by junior Evan Landes and senior Josh Munsch for the majority of the 8K race before a strong closing kick earned Buchanan the highest KU finish. Buchanan clocked in at 24:05.84 to finish 37th overall but was followed closely by Landes, who finished seven seconds later at 24:12.66 to place 50th. Munsch was the third KU finisher, crossing the finish line in 64th-place with a time of 24:20.26.
The trio made Kansas one of only eight teams to see at least three runners place in the top-64 of the overall standings.
“Reid and Evan ran real nice races today,” explained Whittlesey. “Reid got out well and put himself in a good position and Evan did a good job of sticking with him. I was happy with how both of them managed the race and the way they battled.”
The men saw the second half of its pack come in around 40 seconds later with junior James Wilson clocking in at 25:00.92 to finish 161st. Freshman Tyler Yunk crossed the finish 15 seconds later in 25:15.71 to tally a 215th-place finish and another freshman, Alexandre Lavigne, posted an 8K time of 25:38.20, good enough to put him in 269th. Junior Brendan Soucie was the last Jayhawk to score with his 311th-place finish and time of 26:07.49.
In all, the men's team amassed 527 points to finish 14th in the 52-team field and compete with several teams that are currently ranked in the nation's top-30.
Richardson led the women’s time for the second time this season, tallying a 35th-place finish after traversing the 6K course in 20:52.25. The time was a personal best for the Glendale, Mo., native and put her near the front of the 340-person field.
“Hannah ran really well,” said Whittlesey. “She worked off some Kansas State and Michigan runners that she had seen a few weeks ago and it ended up earning her a big PR. Today’s race definitely will help her confidence”.
Senior Natalie Becker was the next Jayhawk finisher, crossing the finish 49 seconds after Richardson. Becker’s time of 21:41.57 garnered a 132nd-place finish. Following Becker were sisters Nashia and Malika Baker, who for the second-straight race, finished with a nearly identical time. Nashia Baker completed the race in 22:11.65 for a 224th-place finish and Malika Baker came in at 2:11.95 to place 226th-overall.
Rounding out the women’s top-seven finishers were freshman Courtney Coppinger (246th, 22:22.00), freshman Rachel Simon (270th, 22:35.16) and junior Hayley Francis (271st, 22:35.33). The women's squad collected 860 points to finish 36th in the team standings.
“The women’s 3-7 runners executed pretty well today,” explained Whittlesey. “If we can close up that gap a little, there are a lot of teams that will be there to beat at the Big 12 meet and beyond.”
The Jayhawk cross country teams will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 2, in Waco, Texas, for the Big 12 Championships. The men’s 8K is slated to begin at 10 a.m., while the starting gun for the women’s 6K is set to go off at 11 a.m.