K-State Travels to Chile Pepper as Season Heats Up
MANHATTAN, Kan. - With less than three weeks remaining until the Big 12 Conference Championships, the Kansas State men’s and women’s cross country teams trek to Fayetteville, Ark. to participate in the Chile Pepper Invitational. The men’s race is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., with the women to follow at 10:30.
K-State should get the competitive fire inside of them for the conference meet, after competing in their most competitive race to date, according to head coach Michael Smith.
“In the series of meets we’ve run, this will be the most competitive to-date,” Smith said. “We are at the point where we are as fit as we can be and reaching the point where we are going to peak.”
The Wildcats are peaking at the right time, and are being recognized for it. In the latest edition of the United States Cross Country Coaches Association poll, K-State is currently ranked 10th in the Midwest Region, a 10th place ranking that Coach Smith would like to improve on.
“They (the voters) don’t know if Mathew (Chesang) is running or not, and that’s ranking us 10th which is an improvement from where it was last year. If we get Mathew back, we are potentially a top-five team in our region,” Smith said.
Coach Smith believes that the men’s side will place about the same as they did at the Cowboy Jamboree (7th), even with the absence of top runner Mathew Chesang. However, Smith plans to run Christian Smith, a guy he believes can make a difference.
“We are adding a guy, Christian Smith, who’s one of the best track and field athletes in the program so this is an impact guy,” Smith said. “Whether he can do it in the 10,000-meter or not, he’s probably not completely ready for that yet, but he’ll make a difference.”
Another high finish is anticipated of the women’s squad by Smith. The women’s team has finished in the top-five in all three meets they’ve competed in this season.
“On the women’s side, our lineup is as good as it’s been. We are adding Morgan Bonds, who is a new one. So you can look for us to be even better than what we were at the Jamboree,” Smith said.