Cross country heads to Indiana for Pre-Nationals


Brian Hayes

Redshirt senior Emilea Finley finishes a race at the J.K. Gold Classic earlier in the season. Finley finished 14th at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival with a time of 17:02.79 in the 5K.

Wichita State cross country will be taking on some of the nation’s top teams in Terra Haute, Indiana, for the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet on Saturday.

The meet is hosted by Missouri Valley Conference rival, Indiana State, at the La Verne Gibson Championship Course.

The men’s division features 63 teams with 608 runners, with 12 of those runners currently entered for WSU. The men’s team will be running in the 8K blue race against 41 other teams as well as runners competing in the open race. The Shocker’s men team is currently ranked 10th in the region as a team.

As a team, WSU finished second behind no. 5  Arkansas on Oct. 1 in the 28th Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Senior Ugis Jocis placed 16th with a time of 24:16.55. Junior Nathan Wickoren was 21st with a time of 24:34:36 in the 8K race, and redshirt junior Joe Harter finished in 24th place with a time of 24:39.57.

Junior Pedro Montoya finished fourth on the team with a time of 24:51.22 and junior Kyle Larkin finished with a time of 25:03.12 in the 8K.

Jocis will be making his third appearance in the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet. Ugis finished 139th in last year’s race. Junior Kyle Larkin, who place 172nd last year, will be making his second appearance.

The women’s division features 70 teams, also with 608 runners. 12 of those will be running for  WSU, competing in the 6K white race against 29 teams and feature some runners in the open race.

The Shocker women are currently ranked 14th in the region. WSU women finished fourth behind no. 10 Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas Christian at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, competing against 492 runners total.

Sophomore Rebekah Topham finished in 10th with a time of 16:48.09. Redshirt senior Emilea Finley finished right behind Topham, placing 14th with a time of 17:02.79.

Senior Sidney Hirsch finished 19th with a time of 17:17.66 in the 5K race and junior Jordan Maestas was 39th finishing with a time of 18:06.21. Senior Savannah Wright was 52nd with a 18:20.90 finish.

Hirsch, who finished 78th Pre-Nationals last season, will be making her third appearance this year alongside Topham, the Missouri Valley Conference Female Athlete of the Week. Topham finished 214th last year.

First race will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Shockers then move to El Dorado on Monday, adding the Ollie Isom Invitational to their schedule hosted by Butler Community College beginning at 4 p.m.