LAWRENCE, Kan. – Senior Josh Munsch ran to his first collegiate victory and helped lead the University of Kansas men’s cross country team to its second win of the 2013 season Saturday morning at the Rim Rock Classic. The KU men saw five runners finish inside the top-10 to tally 19 points in the meet held at Kansas’ home course, Rim Rock Farm. The Jayhawk women amassed 20 points to claim the runner-up finish in the team standings.
“Our guys looked really good today, “said assistant coach Michael Whittlesey. “They were back running as a strong pack and kept the pace really strong. Josh (Munsch) coming out here and getting the win was great to see, too. “We’ve got a great front four right now and with the leadership we have I think we’re going to be really strong this year.
The men’s race featured several highly touted teams as the KU men were pitted against Rice, New Mexico State, UMKC and rival Kansas State amongst others. The 8K race was led start to finish by a group of KU runners followed by handful from Rice. The KU group increased its lead over the final mile to end all doubts of its second team win of the young season.
The Kansas pack dominated the final standings. The squad was led by the senior, Munsch, who finished first overall to claim his first win as a collegian. The Hays, Kan., native finished with a time of 24:20.83, which marked a new 8K career best.
Coming in five seconds later was junior Reid Buchanan, who clocked in at 24:25.70 to tally the second-place finish. Following Buchanan was junior Evan Landes (24:27.94), who crossed the finish in third overall, junior James Wilson (24:54.32), taking fifth and freshman Tyler Yunk (25:29.90), who came in at 10th. The Jayhawks’ victory earned them their second-consecutive team title at the Rim Rock Classic.
Rounding out KU’s top-seven finishers was freshman Alexandre Lavigne who crossed the finish line in 12th in a time of 25:31.06 and junior Brendan Soucie, who placed 16th in 25:41.50.
In the women’s race, KU faced stiff competition as they ran with the 11th nationally-ranked team from Michigan. The Wolverine victory wasn’t threatened as the Michigan runners never relinquished the lead. The U of M runners claimed the top four spots as Taylor Pogue finished first overall with a time of 20:53.09.
Two Jayhawks kept the Michigan pack close for the majority of the race and finished in the top-10 as sophomore Hannah Richardson finished with a 6K career best of 21:17.13 for seventh place. Behind her was senior Natalie Becker, who clocked a time of 21:55.49 to take 10th overall.
KU freshmen and twin sisters Malika and Nashia Baker were the next Jayhawks to come down the finishing chute and crossed the finish line with identical times of 22:17.74 to finish in a tie for 14th in the race.
Rounding out the top-seven finishers for the KU women was freshman Courtney Coppinger (22:28.99) placing 18th, freshman Rachel Simon (22:29.40) in 19th and sophomore Hayley Francis, who placed 27th (22:52.43).
The Michigan women won the title after collecting 11 points. Kansas claimed second with 20 points and Kansas State posted 28 points to place third.
The Jayhawks will head to Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Oct. 19th to compete in the ISU Pre-National Invitational as KU will see its toughest competition thus far in 2013. The day’s events will begin at 11 a.m. at the LaVern Gibson Champinship Course. Updates and results can be found at KUAthletics.com and on Twitter at @KansasXC.