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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Cross country finishes regular season, prepares for conference championships

Cheyanne Tull
The men’s cross country team sticks together through the beginning of the race at the JK Gold Classic on Sept. 11. The first place finisher was Adam Rzentkowski who ran unattached for Wichita State with a time of 18:09.3.

Wichita State cross country finished off their regular season schedule at the Bradley Pink Classic. Now, they will go on to compete at the AAC and NCAA championships. 

Kirk Hunter, head coach, said that going into the season, the men wanted to try to duplicate what they did last year: being second in conference and fifth at the regionals.

“I think this team’s done pretty good,” Hunter said. “I think they’ve done well to adapt to everything that’s coming their way.”

Hunter said that at the beginning of the season, he was nervous because many players graduated or transferred.

“When you graduate people and lose people and you bring a bunch of new people in, you’re not sure how it’s all gonna mix together and everything but you hope that it comes out that, we’re going to do okay,” Hunter said.

On the women’s team, Hunter said summer training strengthened their team. 

“The girls have done that in a dramatic fashion,” Hunter said. “They’ve improved all the way from one through eight.”

With recent conference realignments, Hunter said both teams had the potential to place the same or lower than they did last season. 

“Now we’re in a situation where you look at the teams in our conference and you look at where they’re ranked in their region … It’s probably one of the best conferences in the U.S.,” Hunter said. “Because of that, our expectations are the same; we want to be successful.”

Senior Jackson Caldwell said he finally feels like he’s had a successful cross country season. 

“When I was younger, I had good seasons for that time, but now I actually feel like one of the competitive guys in the field, which I haven’t really felt before,” he said. 

Caldwell said going into this season, he wanted to be one of the top runners and a leader on the team. He said that for one reason or another, he has never been healthy for the conference meet. 

“This year, we’re a week out, and I’m healthy, which is rare for me, and so I just want to keep doing what I’ve been doing this season,” Caldwell said. “I want to be in the top 10; I want to be one of our top guys.” 

Kirk said Caldwell has put in the work and is hoping for him to show out in the next meets. 

Junior Lucy Ndungu has led the Shockers in all their races this season. She said the key for the team to perform well in conferences is to believe.

“We just got to get on the field, we’ve just got to show it and just believe that we’ve done it all, we can and just let it out,” Ndungu said.

 Cross country will compete at the AAC Championships in Greenville, North Carolina, on Oct. 28. More information about the races can be found on goshockers.com.

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About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
Cheyanne Tull
Cheyanne Tull, Reporter
Cheyanne Tull is a first year reporter, photographer and illustrator for The Sunflower. Tull is double majoring in graphic design and journalism & media production. She hopes to work for outdoor publications in the future combining creativity, nature, and rock climbing. Tull uses she/her pronouns.

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