MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics) – The Kansas State men’s and women’s cross country teams will kick off their 2022 season with the first of their four regular-season meets at the Bob Timmons Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 3 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. It will mark just the third time that the Wildcats have opened year at the event since 2015.
In addition to the opening meet in Lawrence, the Wildcats will compete at the Woody Greeno/Jay Dirksen Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday, Sept. 17 for the first time since 2019 followed by a trip to Fayetteville, Ark., for the 15th annual Chile Pepper Festival on Saturday, Sept. 30 for the first time since 2014.
The teams will run at the Pre-National meet in Stillwater, Okla., on Saturday, Oct. 15 before capping the year at the Big 12 Championships, which are set for Chaparral Ridge Course in Lubbock, Texas on Friday, Oct. 28.
Both cross country teams are riding momentum heading into the 2022 campaign after finishing in the top-5 at the Big 12 Championships for the second straight season in 2021. The men’s team placed fourth a year ago in the 8k race with 121 points, while the women’s squad earned a fifth-place finish in the 6k race with 143 points.
The fourth-place finish by the men tied the 2017 and 2020 teams for the highest in the Big 12 era, while the women have consecutive top-5 finishes at the conference meet for the first time since 2000 and 2001.
The 2022 season will be highlighted by return of coach Randy Cole, who previously led the Wildcats from 1997-2004 before stops as the head cross country coach at Wyoming (2004-12) and Lindenwood (2012-22). Cole led the K-State women to the 1998 Big 12 Championship, along with runner-up finishes in 1999 and 2000.
The men’s team returns their top-6 runners from the 2021 Big 12 Championships, including four who placed in the individual top-30 in senior Stephen Kielhofner (24th/25:30.5), junior Kerby Depenbusch (25th/25:30.9), junior Hadley Splechter (27th/25:34.1) and sophomore Mike Rohlinger (29th/25:40.5). The squad also returns other strong performers in sophomore Matthew Hauser (34th/25:56.7), senior David Lutgen (36th/26:07.6) and junior Kyle Johnston (58th/27:12.0).
The women’s team lost their top-2 runners in Kassidy Johnson and Jaybe Shufelberger, but they do return several strong runners highlighted by senior Hannah Stewart, who led all runners at the Big 12 Championships with a 17th-place finish in a 6k time of 21:43.3. Other returners include fellow seniors Cailan Steward, Sydney Burton and Katie Kasunic, who all finished among the top-50 at the conference meet.
How to follow the ‘Cats: For complete information on the K-State Track and Field and Cross Country Teams, visit www.kstatesports.com and follow the team’s social media channels on Twitter and Facebook.