Oct. 30, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The K-State cross country team continues action this Saturday with the Big 12 Championships in Waco, Texas. Last season, the Wildcat men finished eighth in the 8K and the women finished sixth in the 6K. The men will race first at 10 a.m., followed by the women at 11 a.m.
The Wildcats, who are led by senior Martina Tresch and junior Laura Galvan are eyeing their first top-5 finish in the Big 12 Championships since 2001. Head coach Michael Smith knows it is a possibility and hopes his team comes out firing on all cylinders.
"We are very capable of being good if we decide to run to our potential,” Smith said. “The women have yet to run to their potential, if they run to their potential they can be very successful. I can not predict a place, but we are capable of finishing in the middle and we are capable of being up front in the pack.”
The Wildcats’ toughest matchups will be against No. 9 Iowa State as well as previously ranked Oklahoma State and Texas. On the men’s side they go up against No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 27 Oklahoma and No. 29 Texas.
Smith knows his team will rely on Tresch, who finished ninth in the Big 12 in 2011, and Galvan, who finished 11th in the Big 12 in 2012 to lead the way for the Wildcats. The last Wildcat runner to finish in the top-5 in the Big 12 was Beverly Ramos who finished fourth with a time of 20:46.80 in 2008.
“I expect Galvan to be in the top pack as the race progresses that top pack will whittle its way down throughout the race into a smaller group and I expect her to be in that smaller group,” Smith said. “Laura should score in the single digits and I am hoping that Martina does the same. If these girls run the way they have trained then they will be in the top-10.”
Galvan, who is coming off of a season best time of 20:54.40 at the Pre-National Invitational, is looking to build off of her strong performance.
“I just want to do my best,” Galvan said. “I expect that from my team as well. In the past meets we have been doing just okay, but not as well as I think we are capable of. I really hope that this meet we can put it all together.”
With the underclassmen, Smith is ready for them to compete and run the way they are capable of.
“The girls just have to come out and compete,” Smith said. “I just want them to run to the level that they have trained. There is no farther expectation. We do not have to do anything special to be competitive in this meet. If we do what we are capable of doing we will end up with a good finish.”
While the women rely heavily on upperclassmen and less on the underclassmen, the men’s side is a different story. Smith will have to rely on a few freshmen to get the job done in Waco this weekend.
“We are relying on our freshmen to be competitive,” Smith said. “It is going to be a challenging meet, some of the best teams in the country will be at this meet and we hope we are in a position to be competitive. I think we can do that, our freshmen just have to be consistent.”
Smith hopes that the men will build off of their strong third place performance at the Rim Rock Invitational.
“The guys are running with more confidence now in training so I expect that to transfer to their races,” Smith said. “They are learning not to set limits on themselves and it has been fun to watch them take on new challenges in practice.”
Following Saturday’s race, the Wildcats take a week off before heading to Ames, Iowa, for the Midwest Regional Championships on Nov. 15. Last season the men and women finished 21st and 19th in the Midwest, respectively.