The Kansas State men’s and women’s cross country teams both got off to solid starts Saturday in their first event of the 2020 season.
Competing in the Bob Timmons Classic at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, the Wildcats placed second in both the women’s and men’s events. Both teams had four runners finish in the top 10 of their respective races, facing off against teams from Big 12 rivals Kansas and Iowa State.
The women’s team earned 60 points in the 5K race, while the men picked up 40 points in the 6K event.
“The men ran well today,” K-State head coach Ryun Godfrey said in a release. “We had our top-four runners together for the majority of the race. We will need to hold together for a longer stretch as we prepare for championship racing.
“The women (also) ran well today. It was a shame to see Jaybe (Shufelberger) suffer from an asthma attack during the race. She had to stop and throw up, but then jumped back into the race again. It was a gritty performance.”
Junior Kassidy Johnson was the top runner for the women’s team, finishing in 18:09.0 to place fifth.
“Kassidy (Johnson) had a good race and Sydney (Burton) is significantly better from last year,” Godfrey said. “I am very impressed with her efforts. Cailan (Steward) and Helen (Giefer) gave great efforts in the closing meters of the race to help us beat Kansas. I was very happy to see that kind of determination.”
Johnson took nearly a year off from the sport because of an inury before returning Saturday. It marked her second consecutive top 10 in Lawrence, as she also accomplished the feat at the 2018 Rim Rock Collegiate Classic.
“Going into this race, my coach gave me his goal time for me to accomplish,” Johnson said. “At first, I had a lot of doubts. But his expectations are pretty spot on, so I decided that if he believed in me, then I could believe in myself, too. I’ve put in a lot of miles since my last cross country race, so I just tried to put faith in my training and went into the race with the goal of believing in myself and focusing on what could go right instead of what could go wrong.”
Despite admitting her confidence heading into the race was “low,” Johnson didn’t show it once she took off from the starting line.
“Because of my performance, however, today meant I could prove to myself that all the work we’ve been putting in over the last couple of years has paid off,” she said. “This reminded me how incredibly grateful I am to be injury free and to compete with my team again!”
Junior Cooper Schroeder took top honors for the men’s team, posting a time of 18:26.9 to claim fourth in the 6k race.
It was another successful outing for Schroeder at Rim Rock Farm with his second straight stellar finish at the course. Hewon the 2018 Rim Rock Collegiate Classic.
“Going into the race, we had our sights set on beating Kansas, which is something we haven’t done in two years,” Schroeder said. “So for me, I wanted to go out with the top group and try to give my team the lowest score possible. We knew coming into the race that Iowa State was a very talented group, so we wanted to focus on running with our teammates and continue to catch people one-by-one.
“I think today was a good step in the right direction. Some guys had PR’s and some guys learned a lot from the race. We just got to keep training hard and try to stay healthy for the rest of the season.”
K-State’s next event is Oct. 3, when the teams travel to Stillwater, Okla., for the Cowboy Jamboree at the OSU Cross Country Course.