With a team loaded with juniors and sophomores, Kansas University cross country Stanley Redwine is eager to see what kind of strides his women’s team can make now that the Jayhawks have some experience under their belts.
The KU women gave Redwine a reason to have more optimism Tuesday as eight Jayhawks placed in the top 10 of their season-opening meet to win the Bob Timmons Classic.
“The key this year is that we have to be really deep,” Redwine said. “We had a young team last year and they’ve matured a little bit this year. They showed it in how they handled the race, so we’re excited about that.”
Sophomore Lydia Saggau took the individual women’s title with a 5,000-meter time of 18:04.8, edging Morgan Wedekind of Kansas State by 20 seconds.
“It’s been a long preseason so far, but it was just fun to get out and attack something without having to worry about all of the statistics behind it,” Saggau said.
Saggau separated from the field before the two-mile mark to put away any doubt of who the eventual champion would be. While Saggau was pleased with how the Jayhawks placed eight in the top 10, she said that there is plenty of work to be done in the upcoming weeks to make the KU front pack tighter.
“My main focus is our team running as a pack, so we were hoping to stay together as long as possible, but unfortunately we only made it through about half of where we wanted to be,” Saggau said. “Once I lost the girls, it was just to try to stay composed, stay relaxed, stay together and just continue to attack it.”
On the men’s side, the Jayhawks were led by freshman Dylan Hodgson and junior Daniel Koech, who placed third and fourth, respectively, in their 6,000-meter race.
Hodgson clocked in at 19:19.5 in his first collegiate race, only finishing behind the Minnesota tandem of Aaron Bartnik and Adam Zutz. The KU freshman tried to put the hammer down as he had the lead with 600 meters to go, but the senior Golden Gophers were able to chase him down.
“I got a little tied up and from there the Minnesota guys on and I wasn’t able to react to that,” Hodgson said. “But I’m really, really happy with how it went.”
A moment of silence was held for Timmons, KU’s cross country and track and field coach from 1966-1988, who died on Aug. 4 at the age of 91.