Cross Country records top-five finish for men at Pre-Nationals Invitational

The K-State men's cross country team competes in the J.K. Gold Classic 6K race in Augusta, Kansas, on Sept. 1, 2018. (Archive Photo by Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State cross country team competed in the Pre-Nationals Invitational in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday morning, with the men running the 8K and the women the 6K at Apalachee Regional Park.

The men’s team scored 158 points in the 8K race for a fourth-place finish out of 31 teams competing. On the women’s side, the Wildcats scored 730 points, putting them in 27th place out of 33 teams.

“The men had a good day today,” head coach Ryun Godfrey said. “We had 29 seconds between our 1-7. We need to keep the gap that close at the Big 12 Championships. We might even be able to close that gap to 20 seconds. Good effort on the men’s side.”

Six of the 11 men competing for K-State finished within the top 50. Hadley Splechter was the first across the line for K-State, finishing 25th out of 256 with a time of 24:55.3.

Kerby Depenbusch and Noah Stevenson finished back-to-back in 34th and 35th place with times of 25:01.7 and 25:02.6, respectively. Next across the line was Thomas Hazen in 43rd place with a time of 25:08.1, and Mike Rohlinger in 47th place with a time of 25:14.0.

Crossing the line in 53rd place with a time of 25:24.4 was Stephen Kielhofner, while Carson Sturdy ran a time of 26:17.2, placing 119th. Freshman Matthew Hauser was not far behind Sturdy, finishing in 122nd place with a time of 26:18.8.

Kyle Johnston (130th, 26:25.0) and Jack Moore (146th, 26:37.5) rounded out the race for the men.

Kassidy Johnson led the way in the women’s 6K with a time of 21:23.1 for a 117th-place finish. Behind Johnson was Sydney Burton, placing 121st with a time of 21:26.5.

Hannah Stewart clocked in a time of 21:45.5 for a 146th-place finish, while Cailan Steward finished in 174th place with a time of 22:03.0. K-State star Jaybe Shufelberger ran a time of 22:31.3 for 199th place.

Rounding out the women’s competition for K-State was Helen Giefer (231st, 23:34.8) and Delaney Kemp (241st, 24:18.3).

“On the women’s side, we also had good effort,” Godfrey said. “We are looking forward to the Big 12 Championships. We need to continue to work as we have all season.”

Top-ranked Northern Arizona took first place in the men’s 8K with 38 points, while Colorado captured the crown in the women’s 6K with 54 points.

Next up for the Wildcats is the 2021 Big 12 Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Oct. 29 at the Greiner Family Cross Country Course. The Big 12 Championship event will air live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.