Sean Marty / The Sunflower
Yazmine Wright, was a showstopper in the JK Gold Classic. The Gold Classic is Wichita State’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Team annual home meet. Wright won first place in the women’s 5k finishing with a time of 17:34.10. Her time was also 39 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
As a fifth year member in the program, she has taken on more of a leadership role than in the past. With this season’s team having fewer members than in past seasons, Wright hopes to help each member as much as she can.
“I feel a lot older than everyone but being a fifth year is also nice because now I feel more capable of helping others,” Wright said.
Wright controlled a sizable lead throughout the race and ultimately finished 13 seconds shy of the course record set last January by former Shocker Winny Koskei. Wright also extended a streak of seven straight Shockers winning the individual title, joining Koskei and Rebekah Topham.
“It’s terrific,” head coach Kirk Hunter said. “Anybody who can do what Winny Koskei can do is a girl to watch out for on the national scale. It’s really special what she did here and I’m really happy with the way she’s performing.”
Wright said her race was a “confidence booster.”
“My coach [Kirk Hunter] and I discussed that I would be running this race to see where I was at in the season,” Wright said. “I gave it my all and was not expecting the win.”
This was Wright’s first college win and not only did Hunter see her success, but so did the NCAA as they named Wright American Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week.
“I was not expecting to receive Athlete of the Week,” Wright said. “This was my first time receiving this title.”
Due to COVID-19, Wright was given an extra year of eligibility. Very few athletes get the opportunity to continue competing for a fifth season without taking a season off or redshirting.
Wright is taking this season as a sign of growth. Throughout the remainder of the 2021 season, Wright has numerous goals she hopes to accomplish with her team.
Wright has been running for five seasons, so she hopes to share her knowledge with others. A personal goal of hers is to cut more time in the women’s 5k.
“My first mile was faster than what I wanted which caused my second and third miles to be slower than what I was hoping for,” Wright said. “My goal is to be more conservative in my first mile so that I can be faster in the second and third mile.”
Wright is a biology major and said that after she graduates in the spring, she hopes to spend the next two years in physical therapy school, and continue running.
“This year I have become a lot more passionate about running and I hope to continue,” Wright said. “I want to run for as long as I can.”
Wright and the Shockers will be back in action on Saturday as they travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational.