Every year in the middle of October, teams gather at the Pre-National Invitational to gauge where their team stacks up against elite competition. This year, Kansas competed at the LaVern Gipson Championship course in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Sophomore Sharon Lokedi turned in an outstanding performance, placing 10th overall with a time of 20:26.3 in the 6k race. Her performance led the women’s team to a 13th place finish in a race that featured nearly 45 teams and 300 individual runners.
The other women’s scorers were senior Hannah Richardson in 58th place (21:05.5), senior Malika Baker in 86th place (21:19.8), junior Hannah Dimmick in 165th place (21:55.5), and senior Nashia Baker in 173rd place (21:59.0).
Rounding out the Jayhawk women, senior Jennifer Angles finished in 209th place (22:18.8) and junior Lydia Saggau took 215th place (22:25.1). Kansas finished with a total of 492 points. The Jayhawks finished first among Big 12 teams.
On the men’s side, Kansas finished 21st as a team. Junior Chris Melgares was the top finisher as he placed 63rd with a time of 25:00.4 over 8k.
To complete the top five for the Jayhawks, sophomore Dylan Hodgson came across the line in 77th place (25:07.6), sophomore Michael Melgares finished in 112th place (25:22.0), senior James Hampton in 125th place (25:26.2), and junior Ben Burchstead in 239th place (26:37.9). The Kansas men ended with 616 points.
Other Kansas athletes competed later on in the day in the open races. In the men’s open 8k, freshman Avery Hale was the first Jayhawk to cross the line as he came in 25th place with a time of 26:53.9. Senior Courtney Coppinger turned in a sweet performance in the women’s 6k, coming in at 12th place with a time of 22:26.9.
Next, the Jayhawks will prepare for the Big 12 Championships in Lubbock, Texas. The women are set to race at 10AM CT and the men will compete at 11AM CT. Both races will be held on Saturday, October 29th.