Cross Country has pair of top-five finishes at Big 12 Championships

The K-State men's cross country team following two Wichita State runners during 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 combined for seven top-30 finishes at the 2021 Big 12 Cross Country Championships on Friday morning at the Greiner Family Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Both the men’s (fourth) and women’s (fifth) teams finished within the top-five overall in the field of nine and 10 teams, respectively.

This is the second consecutive year both teams have finished within the top five at the Big 12 meet. The men’s fourth-place finish occurred in the 8K race, as the Wildcats put together 121 points — 68 points more than fifth-place finisher KU.

The women’s fifth-place finish occurred in the 6K race, putting together 143 total points. Oklahoma State took home first place in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

“It was a good day,” head coach Ryun Godfrey said. “On the women’s side, we were in fourth most of the race and slipped to fifth in the last 1K, so it was a little bittersweet, but still pleased with the effort. The men had a solid showing to finish fourth.”

Four K-State men placed inside the top 30 at the Big 12 Championships. Stephen Kielhofner was the top Wildcat, finishing in 24th with a time of 25:30.5.

Kerby Depenbusch finished just behind Kielhofner, earning a 25th-place finish with a time of 25:30:09. Hadley Splechter crossed the line third for the Wildcats, finishing 27th overall with a time of 25:34.1. The fourth and final Wildcat to finish inside the top 30 was Mike Rohlinger, who had a 29th-place finish with a time of 25:40:5.

Behind the four top-30 finishers, freshman Matthew Hauser had a 34th-place finish with a time of 25:56.7. David Lutgen finished next, earning a 36th-place finish with a time of 26:07:6.

Noah Stevenson (43rd, 26:30:4), Carson Sturdy (52nd, 26:56:6) and Kyle Johnston (58th, 27:10:0) rounded out the competition for K-State.

On the women’s side, Hannah Stewart was the leader for the Wildcats out of three top-30 finishes in the 6K race. Stewart finished in 17th place with a time of 21:43:3.

Next up for the women was Kassidy Johnson, placing in 23rd with a time of 22:02:4. Rounding out the top-30 finishers was Jaybe Shufelberger, who earned a 26th-place finish, crossing the line at 22:16:0.

Finishing right in a row after the top-30 finishers were Cailan Steward (44th, 23:09:6) and Sydney Burton (45th, 23:33:7). Katie Kasunic was not far behind the two back-to-back finishers, earning 48th place with a time of 23:30:09

Delaney Kemp (72nd, 24:46:1) and Helen Giefer (73rd, 24:49:4) rounded out the women’s competition.

K-State has a week off before its next competition on Nov. 12 in Iowa City, Iowa, at the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Ashton Cross Country Course.