Topham takes top spot in MVC Championship


Brian Hayes

2015 MVC Freshman of the Year winner Rebekah Topham sprints past the crowd at the finish line.

Sophomore Rebekah Topham placed first overall in the women’s 5k at the Missouri Valley Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with a time of 17:24.8 this weekend to help the Wichita State women’s cross country team place third overall.

Topham is the first Shocker to win the MVC title since 2011 and 2012 when Aliphine Tuliamuk won the title back-to-back.

“I just caught up to the pack one kilometer into the race,” Topham said. “Then I followed them and tried to make my move to try to pull away. After I take the lead, I’m always nervous they’re going to re-catch up, so I was just trying to finish.”

The men’s team powered through and placed second in the 8k, their best finish at the MVC Championships since 2000.

“This was a meaningful run for me,” head coach Kirk Hunter said.

Emilea Finley and Sidney Hirsch followed close behind finishing fourth and eighth, with times of 17:38.8 and 17:55.4. Finley, Hirsch and Topham also received All-Valley honors with their finishes.

Three other girls placed in the top 50. Junior Jordan Maestas finished 30th in 18:38.4, redshirt senior Savannah Fox (Wright) was 41st in 19:04.8 and senior Sarah Wright was 42nd with a time of 19:06.6.

The men’s team had top finishers in senior Ugis Jocis (10th, 25:12.2), junior Pedro Montoya (12th, 25:16.2), redshirt junior Joe Harter(14th, 25:21.7), and junior Nathan Wickorken (19th, 25:39.6) all placing in the top 20. Montoya and Harter received honorable mention All-Valleys while Jocis received All Valley honors.

Four other men placed in the top 50. Junior Kyle Larkin placed 28th in 26:13.5 with sophomore Reno Law following closely behind at 29th with a time of 26:15.1. Redshirt junior Gage Garcia finished 34th with a time of 26:31.9 and freshman Josh Klein was 48th in 27:05.5.

The men finished second behind Bradley.

“Overall, I’m glad we finished second,” Jocis said. “It took 17 years. I’m glad how we run as a team.”

The Shockers will be competing again at the Regionals Championships in Iowa City, Iowa, on Nov. 11.