Iowa City, Iowa Kansas University's men's cross country team placed third of 11 teams, narrowly missing an automatic berth into the NCAA championship meet a week from Monday in Terre Haute, Ind.
Oklahoma State (49 points) and Iowa (72) garnered the automatic bids. KU placed third with 74.
Five KU men's runners earned all-region honors by finishing in the top 25 in the team's first 10k race of the season. Sophomore Paul Hefferon, placed eighth in 31:10. Two-time Big 12 champion Benson Chesang placed 11th in 31:17, followed by Colby Wissel (15th, 31:25), Tyler Kelly (18th, 31:29) and Erik Sloan (22nd, 31:41). Minnesota's Antonio Vega was the overall winner in 30:52.
The men's third-place result was its best regional outcome since finishing first in 1994.
KU's women placed 11th. Lisa Morrisey, a sophomore from Ottawa, placed 43rd in a 6K time of 22:36. Laura Major was 51st overall in 22:45, followed by Angela Pichardo (76th, 23:22), Alicia McGregor (82nd, 23:29) and Hayley Harbert (88th, 23:39).
KU will find out today if it is one of 13 teams to land an at-large bid for NCAAs.