WICHITA, Kan. – For the second year in a row, the Wichita State cross country men’s team won the J.K. Gold Classic at the R.A.F.T. Golf Course in Augusta led by Chris Burnett, who won the men's race by 25 seconds.
Burnett, from Branbridge, N.Y., led the way for the Shocker men by crossing the finish line at 18:37.50.
Both of the men’s dual-meets scored at this year’s JK Gold Classic were also won by Wichita State. WSU defeated Kansas State, 21-40, and Oral Roberts, 18-45, the two NCAA Division I schools the Shocker men faced. Other schools that competed in the men’s and women’s meets included Emporia State, Nebraska-Omaha, Bethel College, Tabor College, Northwest Technical College, and NJCAA colleges.
Individually, the Shocker men finished in first and second, and sixth through 10th.
Junior Ryan Hocker came in second with a time of 19:02.70, and sophomore Jonathan Harper from Oral Roberts finished third with a time of 19:21.70 to round out the top three finishers.
Shocker cross country coach Kirk Hunter was proud of Hocker’s performance.
“He took a big step forward, almost two minutes faster than he ever ran on the course,” Hunter said. “That is a lot to be said for a 6K. His time was even better than the fourth best runner last year, Tomas Cotter, and he was one of the best we ever had. I am very excited about what Hocker did today.”
While Hunter loved the way Burnett and Hocker ran, he looks for Justin Scott and Kayson Matthews to finish stronger to help the team.
“Scott and Matthews both ran well today too but both got affected by the heat and did not finish the way they wanted to," Hunter said. "If they finished the race, we would have looked even better as a team.”
Kansas State won the women’s dual meets against the Shockers, who finished second overall. While the Shockers scored 38 points, the Wildcats scored only 18 to win.
Other than losing to K-State, the women won their other two dual-meets, and had four individual finishes in the top-ten. That includes finishes in third, and seventh through ninth places.
The Shockers defeated Oral Roberts, 14 points to 50 points, and scored 18 points against Nebraska-Omaha.
Junior Laura Galvan and senior Martina Tresch from Kansas State finished in first and second, individually. Galvan won with a time of 13:49.72 and Tresch finished in second with a time of 14:00.60.
WSU freshman Sidney Hirsch placed third with a time of 14:15.01.
Although the Shocker women placed well, Hunter was still disappointed.
“I was disappointed in our women today,” Hunter said. “We did not run as a team as much as I think we should have. We can pack closer to the top where Hirsch was. We do it everyday in practice, and we need to make sure to keep the gap down during the meet.
“There are seven or eight girls that can run to that level, and we only had four who were close to that level.”
Hirsch was not surprised to see the women’s team put up solid finishing times due to the hard work that is put in at practice.
“We have been working really hard as a team to stick to the pack,” Hirsch said. “I know at the beginning Ebeissa (Nyandwi), Katie (McLeod), and Lycia (Hollon) stayed in a good pack for over the first mile, and that is what we have been working on in practice. We did a good job of that in the beginning."
The next time the Shockers are in action will be on Sept. 21 when they travel to the Woody Greeno Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. For more information, including a video with coach Kirk Hunter, Chris Burnett, and Sidney Hirsch, visit goshockers.com.
--Wichita State University--