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2019-20 Shocker Women XC and Track & Field

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  • 2019-20 Shocker Women XC and Track & Field

    Track and Field Welcomes 2019 Signing Class

    "I am really pleased with how this recruiting class came together ultimately," said Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Steve Rainbolt. "There was a time in the winter when I was concerned with how recruiting was going. Ultimately, we finished strong, and I feel we put together a terrific group of freshman and transfers."

    The Wichita State track and field teams welcomed 31 new members to the squad Monday. There are 12 new additions to the women's team including 9 freshman, a transfer from Arkansas who will be a freshman in eligibility and 2 juco transfers.

    Coming the longest distance to join the Shocks is distance runner Sharon Kiprop who hails from Kapkenda HS in Iten, Kenya. Sharon's PR in 5k is 17:10 which would have been 12th fastest in teh AAC last year.

  • #2


    • #3
      RH: Shockers Defend AAC Cross Country Title

      Wichita State junior Yazmine Wright fell in love with cross country, which isn't always easy to do – especially for a sprinter. There is heat and cold, mixed with dust and mud, topped by long, long runs. Sometimes, exhaustion, collapse and vomit await at the finish line.

      "The only reason I did cross country in high school was to help improve my 400 time," she said. "It wasn't anything I was super-good at, so I had zero intentions of doing it in college."

      Things changed, in part because coaches talked her into it, in part because she loved her teammates and because she turned out to be quite good at longer distances. As a junior, Wright is a key member of the Shocker women's cross country team that won the 2018 American Athletic Conference title.

      At the conference meet, Wright finished 18thin the 6-kilometer run (with a time of 23 minutes, 32.9 seconds). Champion Winny Koskei (21:51.96), third-place finisher Rebekah Topham (22:16.50) and No. 26 Rita Schnacker (23:50.66) also return.

      "I've had them go the other way, where they're longer distances and they go shorter," coach Kirk Hunter said. "That's pretty dramatic, going from 400 to, this year, asking if she can run a 3-kilometer. It's an unusual direction for an athlete. I've never had anyone like that."

      Cross country fosters that team attitude in a way that is sometimes different from indoor and outdoor track. Check the cheers at the finish line at any cross country race to see competitors rooting for each other in a way that doesn't happen in sprints.

      Wright prepared for this fall by upping her summer mileage to 60-65 miles a week.

      "I think she's just going to continue to get better and better," Hunter said. "She's basically training right with Rebekah and Winnie. We haven't done anything massive yet, but those are two All-Americans. It's the best I've ever seen her."

      Sully off to a hot start in the 2019-20 year. Another terrific article.


      • #4
        Shockers Geared Up for 71st JK Gold Classic

        The Lady Shocks should have another good year on the hills and dales this season. The defending AAC Champs return 5 of their top 6 runners including AAC individual champ Jr. Winny Koskei and 3rd place finishers Sr. Rebekah Topham. Rebekah is a 4-time winner of the JK gold classic including her redshirt year between her sophomore and junior years. Winning a 5th time may be difficult with teammate Winny challenging.

        Coach Hunter on the Meet
        On his season outlook
        "Our expectations are to win the conference. That's the goal. We want to establish ourselves as the best team in the conference, which is going to be difficult. Our conference is so tough in quality and depth. The women are defending champs, but it's going to be difficult. We only won by two points last year. In order for us to get it done again, we are going to have to be strong on both sides."

        On his confidence after winning a conference title last year
        "Well, it is a new year. Knowing that you can win a conference title because you've done it is great, but it also puts a target on our back. Last year, nobody looked at us. We weren't picked for anything at the conference meet, and now they know what we've got. Everyone in the conference knows about Winny and Rebekah, but not everyone knows what we've got behind them."

        I have to admit that I have never attended a XC meet at any level. I should probably get up early Saturday and rectify that although I understand it's not a sport that is easy to view in person. But I would like to get out and show the kids some support. After all these ladies won our only AAC Championship last year.
        Last edited by 1972Shocker; September 6th, 2019, 04:25 PM.


        • #5
          Never went to a track meet until last spring. Might have to go to a cross country meet


          • #6
            Originally posted by pogo View Post
            Never went to a track meet until last spring. Might have to go to a cross country meet
            Probably not nearly as fan friendly as a track & field meet but not nearly as time consuming either.


            • #7
              Thinking breakfast at Fat Ernies and off to the meet.


              • 1972Shocker
                1972Shocker commented
                Editing a comment
                Good choice!

            • #8
              A whole lot more people there than I thought would be. Women won handily and the men a strong showing. Have no idea how good the times were in comparison to individual bests. Saw more action than I thought but did require to move along the course. Good time this morning


              • #9
                Well that sucks. The men’s standings changed after I left. Sorry for the inaccurate post


                • #10
                  Originally posted by pogo View Post
                  A whole lot more people there than I thought would be. Women won handily and the men a strong showing. Have no idea how good the times were in comparison to individual bests. Saw more action than I thought but did require to move along the course. Good time this morning
                  Glad you made it out. I was planning on taking my grandson as he is running XC for the first time as a 7th grader this year but he had a basketball game at the South Y this morning so we didn't make it. The basketball game went very well though.

                  Regarding the race times there are a couple things to keep in mind. XC races can be run at varying distance that, for the women, generally range from 4K on the short end up to 6K. Conference Championship races and NCAA regional and championship races are 6K races. The JK Classic is typically the 1st race of the season for the Shocks and I think they run the shorter 4K race as a way to "ease" into the season. Obviously, you aren't looking to peak at the start of the season. I think the majority of races are 6K. Also keep in mind that race times in cross country meets can vary significantly depending on weather conditions, the condition of the racing surface and the terrain of the course.

                  That said I think the times put up by the Shocker ladies were quite respectable. The Lady Shocks had 6 runners finish under 15 minutes. The top 5 finishers for each team factor into the team scoring. The Shockers top 6 finishers (with comments about their times) were as follows:

                  1. Winny Koskei (13:48.5) - I believe this is a 4K PR for Winny. She ran 13:49.9 in last year's JK Classic and 14:17.5 two years ago in this race.
                  2. Rebekah Topham (13.53.2) - Rebekah ran 13:48.3 in winning last year's JK Classic.
                  3. Yazmine Wright (14:04.9) - Yazmine came to WSU as primarily a 400m/800m runner but has bought into and adapted to XC very well. There is an article a few posts back the delves into this. Last year Yamine ran a 14:49.6 in the JK Classic. Big improvment.
                  4. Rita Schnacker (14:21.7) - Rtia's two previous JK Classic times were 14:32.4 and 14:40.5 so she also booked a PR at this distance.
                  10. (8th in scoring) Danielle Rinn (14:54.0) - Danielle is a redshirt freshman. During her redshirt year last year she ran unattached in this race and finished in 15:41.2. Again a big improvement.
                  11. Halle Johnson (14:58.6) - I believe this is Halle's first and only 4K race as a Shocker.

                  The Shockers team score was 18 points (1+2+3+4+8). This meet was essentially an triangular with Missouri State and Emporia State. So it was expected that the Shocks would do well.

                  Danielle was 8th in scoring because former Shocker stand out Tonya Nero (competing unattached) finished 5th in 14:22.3 and current Shocker junior Abeba Sullivan, a transfer from Iowa Central CC, finished 6h running unattached in 14:27.7. Abeba must be resihirting this XC season but she can still compete outside of Conference and NCAA meets on an unattached basis without using up eligibility. XC and Track and Field may be the only NCAA sport that allows such a thing although I'm not sure that is the case. In any case, unattached runners do not factor into the team scoring.

                  I would think Coach Hunter is probably pretty pleased with these perfourmances at this early stage in the season. Obviously, they want to be in peak condition and readiness for the AAC Championships on November 1st in Memphis. Till then everything is training and conditioning for that.
                  Last edited by 1972Shocker; September 8th, 2019, 06:14 PM.


                  • #11
                    The Group Chat: Preseason Predictions

                    Which non-traditional programs will make the biggest headlines this fall?

                    Ben: As for the women, how about a team that could have two All-Americans? The Shockers of Wichita State could “shock” some people this year. With Winny Koskei and Rebekah Topham, they have two of the top runners in the country. They aren’t ranked for a reason as the rest of their lineup isn’t quite as potent, but if they have a few people step up then they have a solid squad that could surprise teams. Even if they don’t, plan on seeing some Shockers uniforms towards the front of the field come NCAAs.

                    Maura: I see what you did there! I had the same idea regarding Wichita State. Topham and Koskei have already started the season off strong with a 1-2 finish at their home meet. The Shockers also have Yazmine Wright, a runner with strong potential to gravitate towards the top half of the race with Topham and Koskei.


                    • #12
                      Here are Shocker Assstant Director of Track and Field John Wise's thoughts on the Shocker's season opening performance at the JK Gold Classic:

                      Early season cross country meets aren’t as important as the ones later in the season but they give some great data as to how well a team has trained over the summer. If the JK Gold is any indication, the WSU athletes put in some great work in preparation for this year. The Shockers dominated both the men’s and women’s races Saturday in Augusta, KS, and Coach Hunter was pleased with how the teams performed. Running in a pack was the goal of the day and WSU executed that to near perfection. Including WSU’s redshirt athletes, the Shocker men finished 1-2-3-4-5-7-8 with only one Kansas St athletes in that mix. The women went 1-2-3-4-6 with only former All-American Tonya Nero breaking up the top-5. Comparing to previous 4k (women) and 6k (men) races there were 16 new PR’s even though the conditions were warm and humid. Juniors Ben Flowers and Winny Koskei took home the individual titles. Flowers led then men’s 6k race in 18:38 while Koskei won the women’s 4k race in 13:48.


                      • #13
                        Shocker XC have their first high-level race fo the 2019 season as they head to Eugene, Oregon on Satuday (September 28th).


                        The Field
                        The Shockers take on a loaded field in Oregon at the Bill Dellinger Invitational. BYU highlights the field. The Cougars have the No. 2 men's team and the No. 6 women's team. The sixth-ranked Portland men and 10th-ranked Oregon women round out the field of four top-10 nationally ranked squads. All in all, 17 teams who are either ranked or have received votes in the USTFCCCA National Rankings are in the field at Oregon.

                        Coach Hunter on the Meet
                        On his goals and expectations for the meet in Oregon
                        "Our goals are to run fast. We have two teams that have the ability to be fast teams throughout. We might not be as deep as some other teams around the country, but that's the nature of how we do things and recruit here at Wichita State for our overall goals. This group has the ability, if they stay healthy throughout the year, to be two of the best teams in school history. Given that fact, we're hoping to go in there and make some noise against those ranked teams. Hopefully it'll help us move up in the rankings as we go through the year."

                        On the course in Eugene
                        "I have been out there a few times. The course has always been extremely flat. There's never a bump in it. That doesn't mean it runs fast. It typically does, but if it rains, that can change the way the course runs."

                        All-Americans Winny Koskei and Rebekah Topham will lead the charge for the Shocker women in a 6K race.

                        Should proide a really good measuring stick.


                        • #14
                          As a team the Shocks finished 10th out of 13 teams but it was a very tough field. Winnie Koskei led the Shocks with a 13th place finishing with a time of 20:14.5 over the 6K course. Rebeka Topham was 39th at 20:37.4 but has been dealing with major sickness per Coach Hunter.

                          Overall I think the Shockers did pretty well in their 1st 6K of the year.

                          5 of 9 Shocker runners set new 6K PR's as follows:

                          Jr. Winny Koskei 20:14.5 vs 20:23.0
                          So. Yazmine Wright 20:58.2 vs 21:33.2
                          So. Halle Johnson 21:38.9 vs 23:23.0
                          Jr. Rita Schnacker 22:01.4 vs 22:04.6
                          R-So. Katie Cumpston 23:03.7 vs 23:43.6

                          Rebekah Topham was about 5.5 seconds off of her PR but considering she has been dealing with being sick that is not bad at all.

                          Jr. Juco transfer Abeba Sullivan at 21:23.0, R-Fr. Danielle Rinn at 22:32.4 and true Fr. Miranda Dick at 22:36.1 all ran solid times in the first D-1 6K race.



                          • #15
                            Shocker Cross Country Takes on Pre-Nationals

                            Meet Notes

                            The Basics

                            • The Shockers send a host of quality runners to Terre Haute, Indiana, for Pre-Nationals on Saturday, October 19th in their final race before the AAC Championships. This meet is hosted every year by the school who is hosting the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Indiana State is the host this year.
                            • On the women's side, Winny Koskei is coming off a 13th-place performance at the Bille Dellinger Invitational. She proved in Oregon that she will once again be gunning for All-American status.
                            Rebekah Topham has been dealing with injury, but has still shown why she is an All-American. The 2019 Steeplechase All-American placed 39th out of 138 runners at the Bill Dellinger Invitational. (Not sure what is the nature or extent of Rebekah's injury -- apparently not enough to hold her out but apparently enough to keep her from being 100%).

                            FOLLOW THE MEET
                            Fans can follow along on Twitter at @GoShockersTFXC for updates. A recap will be posted to as well as full PDF results. Live results can be found at

                            Meet Schedule
                            Both Wichita State squads have been placed in the Blue races. The women's Blue 6K race kicks off at 10 a.m. Central time. The men's Blue 8K starts at 10:35 a.m. Central time.

                            Coach Hunter on the Meet
                            "Every time we get into this time of the year, we get a lot done in terms of knowing we're at and where a lot of other teams are at. After the weekend, we're obviously going to focus on conference, but it's a great indicator of where we stand. I take the entire year and I can evaluate what's happening (with other teams) unless they're hiding someone. Having the chance to run this week is also a chance to qualify for the national meet. If we don't go to these meets like Oregon or Pre-Nats, we don't have much of a chance in this system to make it. We're thankful to have the opportunity. The experience is going to be invaluable when we get to the regional meet."

                            On team dynamics
                            "(They) obviously (enjoy each other's company). Both the guys and girls teams. It's very obvious to me in practice. I think if you just listen to the athletes and what they have to say, I'm surrounded by people (who are good people). That's why our team has been improving. We've had a great culture over the course of the past few years."

                            Koskei Keeps Kicking
                            Winny Koskei is again leading the way for the Shocker women this season.
                            • The All-American has had two impressive races at the JK Gold Classic and the Bill Dellinger Invitational.
                            • Koskei came out of JK Gold as the individual champion, dethroning fellow All-American Rebekah Topham. She won the race with a time of 13:48.5. Her performance led the Shocker women to a team victory as well.
                            • In Oregon, Koskei showed she is still a force to be reckoned with on the national stage. She finished the first 6K of the season in 20:14.5 to finish the race in 13th place. The Bill Dellinger Invitational was packed with ranked teams and All-American contenders.
                            • Koskei has proven she is back and ready to claim another All-America honor.

                            The AAC XC Championship is in Memphis on Friday, November 1st.