The K-State men’s and women’s cross country team are headed to Waco, Texas on Saturday as Baylor hosts the 2013 Big 12 Championships on Cottonwood Golf Course.
Both teams are coming off strong performances from two weeks ago at the Pre-National Invitational where the men finished 16th in the 8k white race and the women finished 30th in the 6k blue race.
The women, who finished sixth in the Big 12 Championships last year, hope to capitalize on a mixture of young talent — primarily freshman Morgan Wedekind and sophomore Mary Frances Donnelly — and experienced leadership in junior Laura Galvan and senior Martina Tresch.
All four runners set season-best marks two weeks ago, with Galvan and Tresch leading the team with times of 20:54.40 (37th) and 21:06.60 (51st), respectively. Only two Big 12 runners did better than Galvan and Tresch, Kansas’ sophomore Hannah Richardson with a time of 20:52.30 and Oklahoma State’s junior Monika Juodeskaite with a time of 20:29.00.
With the talent that this group of women have, they are looking to improve on the sixth place finish that they had last year when the Big 12 Championships were in Austin, Texas. Galvin led the team last year with a time of 12:00.6, finishing 11th. In her freshman season, Donnelly finished second on the team in the event, finishing 23rd overall with a time of 21:41.2. Tresch, who did not compete last year, finished ninth in the championships two years ago in College Station, Texas.
The men are going into the championship trying to do better than the eighth they picked up last year. Junior Fernando Roman was the runner with the best time for the Wildcats last year, finishing 51st with a time of 25:48.3, but because of an injury and the process of getting him used to competitive running, younger runners will have to step up for this years competition.
At their last event, two weeks ago, the men were in the middle of the pack. They are going to have perform better in Waco because they are going to be running against three of the best cross country teams in the nation: No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 27 Oklahoma and No. 29 Texas.
Freshmen Jeff Bachman and Lukas Koch led the team at the Pre-National Invitational with times of 26:12.6 and 26:13.7 respectively. The two freshmen, along with the young runners that make the core of the team, are going to have to run their best races of the year in order for the Wildcats to make any impact in the talent-laden race.
Junior Fernando Roman, who in his third race back from injury and finished at the back of the pack, will have to continue to fight through the lasting effects of being injured in order to push the team forward in their last 8k race of the season.
After the Big 12 Championship, the Wildcats next action will be at the NCAA Midwest Region Championship in Ames, Iowa on Nov. 15, where both the men’s and women’s seasons will be on the line. Here, the men will have to face their first 10k race of the season.