MANHATTAN - The 2004 K-State cross country season kicks off its season on Saturday as the squad travels to Lawrence, Kansas to participate in the Bob Timmons Invitational. The meet begins at 9 a.m. with the men’s 8K race, followed by the women’s 5K race at 10 a.m.
First year head coach Michael Smith plans to see what his squad can bring to the table during the first meet.
“It is in essence a non-conference game. We are going to go in there and see what personnel we have and see what they can do,” Smith said. “Watching them in practice is a little different than watching them in a meet. We will see who is a competitor and who really wants to be good.”
Two athletes that have already proven themselves from last year are Mathew Chesang on the men’s side, and Trisha Culbertson on the women’s side. Both are seniors coming off a 2003 campaign in which they had appearances in the NCAA National Championships.
Chesang had two meet wins last year, to go along with a fifth-place showing at the Big 12 Championships with a time of 24:51.60, and a thrid-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regionals with a time of 31:02.
After a 2003 season which saw the women’s team finish seventh and the men’s team finish ninth, the cross country team looks forward to a new season as they try to improve their status among the Big 12 teams. K-State will rely on some new faces this year as they make the push towards the top half of the conference.
On the men’s side, Tyler Roark, a transfer from Wichita State looks to be in the mix of the top-five runners towards the end of the season. At WSU in 2003, Roark placed 28th at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships, and 75th at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Other newcomers that should figure into the mix are Alex Sawyer and Gerardo Rabelo.
As for the women, two freshmen, Stephanie Lavin and Whitney Patton, hope to contribute to the 2004 squad. Lavin was an All-State selection from the state of Missouri all four years in high school. Patton was named her team’s MVP three years in a row. Christina Lara, a transfer from Mt. San Antonio CC has also adapted and trained well under Smith.
Results from the Bob Timmons Invitational will be posted at www.k-statesports.com as soon as they become available.