Nov. 22, 2010
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Kansas State women’s cross country team completed its season on Monday as the Wildcats finished 25th overall at the NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind. Sophomore Martina Tresch led the Wildcats finishing 52nd with a time of 21:09. Senior Sydney Messick ended her cross country career crossing the finish line 57th overall with a time of 21:12.
Messick said she was happy with how her team performed in its first NCAA Championship appearance since 2000 and was able to enjoy her last career race.
“We did an amazing job today,” said Messick. “We know what kind of team we have and I could not imagine a better way to end my career.”
Head coach Michael Smith was proud with his team and how the Wildcats competed against the nation’s top teams. The Wildcats were able to beat some of the stronger teams coming into the race and used the team’s status as the last team into the championship as motivation for his Wildcats.
“We beat teams today that are built like the New York Yankees with NCAA champions and high school All-Americans,” Smith said. “We knew we were better than 31st but how much better was the question. All year, I felt like we were an NCAA caliber team and belonged here, but really had no idea how we compared to some of the teams we had not raced against. Our 25th-place finish feels pretty good.”
Freshman Meghan Heuer had a breakout race for K-State as she was the third Wildcat to cross the finish line in 137th place with a time of 21:57. Avery Clifton, the other half of the freshman duo finished right behind Heuer with a time of 22:02. Junior Boglarka Bozzay rounded out the top five for K-State with a time of 22:16, which was good enough for a 163rd finish.
Kansas State was making its first team appearance at the NCAA Championship in 10 years. The Wildcats proved they deserved an at-large bid by taking down a number of ranked teams including Penn State, Minnesota, Tulsa and Florida. Villanova was able to defend its title from last year and repeat as national champion.
Smith said his two seniors have seen the lowest of the low and now the highest of highs as Wildcats in their careers, and he commended Messick and Alyssa Bellinder for helping spark the resurgence in K-State cross country. He also added the underclassmen, who gained valuable experience this year, have the potential to get back to this meet in the future.
“I am proud of what these women did today and what they accomplished this year,” Smith said. “I am sad to say goodbye to Alyssa and Sydney. They have meant a great deal to me and this program. Their freshman year we finished 12th in the Big 12. They drove themselves to get better and are largely responsible for where we are today.
“The future is bright for these women. I am proud of all of them for the way they went about their business both in the classroom and on the cross country course. The Top 25 is a good way to end the year.”