Cross country surpasses school record at Chile Pepper Festival

Evan Pflugradt

Redshirt junior Brady Johnson broke Wichita State’s 8K school record over the weekend in the Chile Pepper Festival.

Johnson’s time of 23:54.16 surpassed the 23-year-old record held by All-American Mornay Annandale.

Johnson said the Chile Pepper was the first time he ran the event, but was coached by other veterans who ran the course last year. They said the course runs fast for an 8K. Johnson said he thinks his school record will be topped and hopes that his teammates will beat it.

“I think a few more of the runners on this team can break it because we have a good team,” he said.

Johnson’s eighth-place finish led the Shockers. Johnson was joined by teammates senior Paul Raymond 24:32.06 (27) and sophomore Kyle Larkin 24:38.13 (35) inside the top 40. The Shocker men earned 93 points to earn them a third place team finish behind Arkansas and Tulsa.

Junior Sidney Hirsch led the Shocker women in the 5K. Hirsch placed 27th with a time of 17:14.59. Freshman Rebekah Topham finished 31st in her first collegiate 5K with a time of 17:20.58.

Redshirt Junior Emilea Finley (36) and Kayla Deighan (37) joined the Shockers inside the top 40.

The Shocker women matched their team finish from the Chile Pepper last year, taking fourth in the 5K.

Coach Kirk Hunter said the women got off to a slow start because race officials did not have a starting box prepared for the team.

“They did not have a starting box marked for us,” Hunter said. “With that, we ran the first half of the race in the back half of the field of 436 runners.”

Hunter said the difficulties delayed the team at least 15 seconds in their individual race times.

The Shockers compete at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Fort Hays Invitational in Hays.