Star distance runner to return in cross country season-opener


Selena Favela

Rebekah Topham will compete in the J.K. Gold Invitational this week. Topham redshirted her junior year.

Rebekah Topham, Wichita State’s best female distance runner, will return to competition after a year-long hiatus.

Topham, a junior, is a two-time Missouri Valley Conference champion. Her success in the American Athletic Conference is still in question. After falling short of her goals to qualify for the NCAA Championships in track and field in her first two seasons, Topham elected to extend her eligibility and redshirt her junior season.

She ran one cross country event unattached last year. Kirk Hunter, head coach of the cross country team, said the sophomore from Griswold, Iowa, is “back in uniform” and conditioned for a good season.

Hunter said the women are “coming off a big redshirt year,” and Topham and redshirt junior Winnie Kibet will add a lot to the level of talent on this year’s team.

Hunter’s expectations for the women are to compete for a conference title and “make some waves nationally.”

Last year, WSU’s women finished sixth at the AAC Championship. The men finished fifth.

Cross country starts its season Saturday at the J.K. Gold Classic. Competition gets underway at 8 a.m.

Hunter said this invitational will show him how well-conditioned each team is.

“I always get something from every race they run,” Hunter said. “But our real tests will not start happening until Chile Pepper (Invitational) and beyond.”

Wichita State’s J.K. Gold Roster


Katie Cumpston

Winnie Kibet

Winny Koskei

Amber Reed

Gabby Reyna

Rita Schnacker

Camryn Slatten

Emma Stamm

Rebekah Topham

Tangy Wiseman

Suzy Garcia

Yazmine Wright



Sean Curran

Dray Carson

Clayton Duchatschek

Josh Klein

Cory Landon

Alex Moen

Pedro Montoya

Zack Penrod

Connor Stine