Men’s, women’s cross country finish first in J.K. Gold Classic

Evan Pflugradt

Wichita State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams took the top individual spots to win the university races over Oral Roberts and Kansas State on Saturday in the 67th annual J.K. Gold Classic.

Freshman Rebekah Topham won the women’s 4K with an official time of 14:13:9; it was Topham’s first collegiate meet. Junior Emilea Finley finished behind Topham with a time of 14:20:2.

Junior Sidney Hirsch, who was the overall champion in the event last year, returned this weekend running unattached to claim third with a time of 14:26:7. Hirsch is coming off a successful season that was capped off with All-Valley honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5,000 meter.

The Shockers claimed seven spots in the top 10 for the women’s 4K. In dual action the Shockers defeated Kansas State 15-47 and Oral Roberts 15-50.

Senior Paul Raymond, former champion of the event last year, returned to running unattached to take second overall with a time of 18:47:8. Junior Ugis Jocis was the top-finishing Shocker with a time of 18:56:8; Jocis was the third overall finisher in the men’s 6K. The top five was rounded out with junior Brady Johnson (18:57:0) and sophomore Nathan Wickoren (18:58:1).

The Shockers claimed seven of the top 10 finishes for the men’s 6K. Wichita State defeated Kansas State 15-47 and Oral Roberts 15-49 in dual action.

The men’s and women’s teams arrived Saturday as former champions. Wichita State was voted third in the Valley coaches preseason polls.

“We’re likely the favorites to win the event again this year,” head coach Kirk Hunter said before the meet. “Our men’s team looks good, very good. Better than ever. The women’s side is a little banged up, but very strong.”

Coach Hunter said prior to the meet that it was a challenge to gauge whether or not the team would meet his expectations. With strong finishes on both sides, Hunter added he was impressed with the newcomers and sees great group chemistry between the new members and upperclassmen.

The Shockers compete next Sept. 19 in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the Woody Greno Invitational.