The Kansas State men’s and women’s cross country teams competed with some top-tier opponents in their final outing before the Big 12 conference meet.
The men finished with 162 points in the 8 kilometer race, good for fifth place. Meanwhile the women scored 93 points, finishing fourth.
“This is the tightest group we’ve had in a few years,” head coach Ryan Godfrey told K-State sports. “I thought the team worked better than they have all year. It was great to see.”
Sophomore Kerby Depenbusch led the men’s side for the second meet in a row. Depenbusch finished in 38th place with a personal best time of 25:00.8.
Depenbusch said he was happy he could compete with the impressive field.
“It was a real privilege to be able to race against the best of the best today,” Depenbusch said to K-State Sports. “We don’t always get a chance to race such high-caliber athletes, so we wanted to take full advantage of today and see how we stack up against them.”
Following Depenbusch on the men’s side, five other Wildcat men finished in the top 60. Sophomore Hadley Splechter, junior Stephen Kielhofner, sophomore Jack Thomas, sophomore Jack Moore and redshirt sophomore Mike Rohlinger finished forty-eighth, forty-ninth, fifty-fourth, fifty-fifth and fifty-ninth respectively.
NAU topped the tournament, followed by host Oklahoma State, BYU and Southern Utah.
On the women’s side, sophomore Jaybe Shufelberger was the lead runner. Shufelberger finished the 6 kilometer race in 22:00.5 putting her in 14th place.
“Going into the meet, we knew it was going to be more competitive than last time,” Shufelberger said to K-State Sports. “We didn’t let it get into our heads. We have improved so much from last year. And coming off the Cowboy Jamboree two weeks ago, that really motivated us because it shows how much more depth we have. Placing fourth as a team this week really motivates us going into the Big 12’s.”
The Wildcat women put all five of their scoring runners in the top-40, including redshirt junior Kassidy Johnson, sophomore Hannah Stewart, sophomore Emma Lucas and sophomore Sydney Burton.
Junior Macy Heinz and redshirt junior Cara Melgares, both making their season debuts, rounded out the top-7 for the women, finishing forty-first and fifty-second, respectively.
The BYU women cleaned up, finishing with only 22 points. Southern Utah placed second and Oklahoma State third.
K-State’s next meet is Oct. 30th at the Big 12 Championship meet in Lawrence.