Cross country plan for NCAA Midwest Regional Championships


Rachel Rudisill / The Sunflower

Seniors Clayton Duchatschek and Ben Flowers sprinting the last portion of the 6 Kilometer race at the JK Golden Classic on Sept. 3. The seniors finished in second and third place.

After placing several runners on the all conference team at the American Athletic Conference Championships, the men’s and women’s cross country team is preparing for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Columbia, Missouri. 

The men placed second at the conference meet on Oct. 28 which was the highest they have ever finished in the AAC. Senior Clayton Duchatschek led his team with a fifth place individual finish in the men’s 8K. He finished the race with a time of 24:08.4. 

Duchatschek also recorded the highest individual finish for a men’s runner from Wichita State since Mickael Colin’s third place finish at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship in 2002. 

“Once I got in the rhythm of things that morning … and then when I was able to perform how I did, it really showed a testament to how hard I’ve been training so it really gave me the confidence going into regionals that my fitness is there and I don’t have to worry about that other stuff,” Duchatschek said. 

Head coach Kirk Hunter said that he thought the men’s team had a strong performance at the conference meet. He said he’s hoping that the men can move up in the race at the 4K mark at the regional meet. 

“I hope we are all healthy when we are standing on the line and if we are, I think that transition from conference to regionals could be a really good one,” Hunter said. 

The women’s team finished fifth at the AAC meet. Graduate student Abeba Sullivan led the women’s team with a fifth place finish and a time of 21:02.1 in the women’s 6K. 

“I loved seeing Abeba (Sullivan) get up there and mix it up with the top girls,” Hunter said.  ‘She didn’t seem scared. Didn’t get intimated at all.” 

Sullivan said that her top place finish at the AAC meet gives her confidence for regionals. 

“I learned that I can run in the front pack and so I think if I do the same thing at regionals I have a good shot again at the top 25 and (be able to) run a PR (personal record),” Sullivan said. 

Hunter said he was also impressed with sophomore Sarah Bertry and redshirt sophomore Miranda Dick’s performances at the conference meet as well. Bertry placed thirteenth and finished with a time of 21:35.2. Dick placed seventeenth and finished  with a time of 21:43.0. 

“I think our girls will surprise some people if we can put our fourth and fifth girls up there a little bit more (at the regional meet),” Hunter said. 

The NCAA Midwest Regional is on Nov. 11.