Cross country continues their early success

Both Fort Hays State University cross country squads competed in the Planet Sub Emporia State Invitational last weekend.

The women’s team won the meet making it their third straight win this season.

“It surprises me a little,” said Jason McCullough, head coach. “I know that they are fit and ready to go, but still, in a race you have to be aggressive and go out hard and you have to compete, and that’s something that they have brought.”

FHSU faced their first MIAA competition of the season with Emporia State University and Northwest Missouri State University. The Tigers topped Northwest, who was second, by 23 points.

“I think they handled the conference competition very well,” McCullough said. “I thought it would be closer than it was between us and Northwest.”

The Tigers had all five of their top runners in before the second Bearcat runner and three in before Emporia State even got their first runner in. The top runner for Northwest, Anne Herbert, was one place ahead of Ramsey McCarter, Topeka, junior, who finished third for the Tigers and was their leader on the day running 19:22

Chelsea Jackson, Garden City, freshman, and Micki Krzesinski, Edwardsville, sophomore, were in the top five. Jackson was fourth at 19:27 and Krzesinski was fifth running 19:34.

“We definitely need to have three low sticks,” McCullough said. “We have to have three up front if we’re going to compete well. I think its essential that they’re running together and going out hard focusing on each other.”

Alex Keehn, Clay Center, senior, and Hannah Robinson, Edmond, Okla., senior, were able to stay ahead of the Northwest Missouri pack and finish in the top 10.

“The pack tried to sallow them up, and they both fought them off,” McCullough said.

As for the men’s team, they are surprising McCullough with the injuries they have dealt with and the limited amount of runners they’ve brought to meets.

The men finished third at the meet. They have placed in the top three for three consecutive meets.

“I’m bringing eight or nine runners to most meets and what it means is everyone needs to run well, and right now we’re running really well,” McCullough said.

Red shirt Isaac Williams, Pretty Prairie, junior, led the way for the Tigers with a fifth place finish running 26:37.

“He went out hard,” McCullough said. “He’s a good example of what hard works does and that’s what you want from your leader.”

Ryan Hopkins, Wichita, junior, and Troy Wineinger, Tribune, sophomore, both placed in the top 20 for the Tigers. Hopkins placed 12th overall running 27:03 and Wineinger placed 16th running 27:35.

The soft spot for the Tigers came between the fourth and fifth runners. The Tigers had more finishers than the top two teams at the meet Northwest Missouri and Newman University, but the huge gap created a problem.

“They just got to focus on each other,” McCullough said. “One thing I do for this team is put lightning bolts on the back of their jerseys so they can see that’s their teammate right up there.”

Jacob Thomas, Garden City, sophomore, and Seth Parres, O’Fallon, Mo., junior, finished out in the top 30.

For their next meet, the Tigers will head to Lawrence for the Rim Rock Farm Classic, which is hosted by the University of Kansas.

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