Cross Country improves at Gans Creek Classic

The women's cross country team as they come off the starting line at the J.K. Gold Classic in Augusta, Kansas, on Sept. 1, 2018. (Archive photo by Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State cross country team hit the ground running on a cool 70-degree morning at the Gans Creek Classic on Friday. Coming off a ninth-place finish for the women and a 12th-place finish for the men at the Cowboy Jamboree two weeks ago, the Wildcats looked to improve from those finishes on Friday morning.

When the races were finished, the women earned 176 points to finish fifth overall, while the men earned 181 points for an eighth-place finish. Individually, seven Wildcats finished inside the top 50 on Friday.

“The men had a solid race, and we will be even stronger in a couple weeks,” head coach Ryun Godfrey said. “The women ran well, too. All six girls running today had personal bests.”

In the women’s 6K, junior Sydney Burton achieved a personal best, finishing with a time of 21:24.4 for an 11th-place finish. Junior Hannah Stewart was just behind her with a 15th-place finish, carding a time of 21:28.6.

Junior Cailan Steward earned a 28th-place finish with a time of 21:47.2, while junior Katie Kasunic finished 56th with a time of 22:41.2. Redshirt sophomore Helen Giefer finished 74th with a time of 22:59.3 while junior Delaney Kemp rounded out the Wildcat finishers with a 113th place finish, earning a time of 23:53.9.

In the men’s 8K race, junior Hadley Splechter was the first across the line for the Wildcats and placed 17th overall on the day with a time of 24:28.9. Senior Stephen Kielhofner crossed after Splechter, finishing 36th with a time of 24:51.7.

Mathew Hauser was next, finishing 40th overall with a time of 24:55.4, while Thomas Hazen finished 42nd overall with a time of 24:56.6. Redshirt junior David Lutgen was close to finishing in the top 50 but just missed the cut, finishing 51st with a time of 25:05.3.

The final seven runners across were Noah Stevenson (84th, 25:37.0), Mike Rohlinger (87th, 25:39.7), Kyle Johnston (99th, 25:47.5), Jack Moore (106th, 25:52.2), Jack Vincent (109th, 25:53.9), Carson Sturdy (120th, 26:14.3) and Alex Gutierrez (131st, 26:33.5).

With its finishes, both teams earned Big 12 victories over Baylor (11th men, eighth women) and Kansas (12th men, sixth women). North Florida managed to score the men’s title in Columbia, Missouri, earning 72 points. Texas A&M claimed the women’s title with 64 points.

Next up for K-State is the Pre-National Invitational in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday, Oct. 15. The meet will begin with the men’s 8K at 7 a.m., while the women’s 6K starts at 8:35 a.m.

The Florida State hosted event will be the Wildcats final tune-up before the Big 12 Cross Country Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Friday, Oct. 29.