(Kansas City, Mo.) - Saturday, the UMKC cross country program will head to Rochester, Mich. to take part in The Summit League Championships, hosted by the Oakland Grizzlies. The competition is set to begin with the women's 6K race at 9 a.m., followed by the men's 8K race at 10 a.m.
Last Time Out...
The Kangaroos took part in the NCAA Pre-Nationals Invitational in Louisville, Ky. on Saturday, Oct. 13, as the men placed 16th (391 points) and the women finished 23rd (577 points) in the black division.
To lead Kansas City in the men's 8K race, senior Cosmas Ayabei crossed the finish line at 24:08 to place second for his fastest time of the year. This outing by the Kenya native was the second best in an 8K competition in team history, as he now holds six of the top 10 performances.
Rounding out other notable finishes by the men, freshman Kolton Sheldon set a new personal best time of 25:27 to place 66th, while junior Dirk Hudson finished 83rd to set a new personal best time of 25:59.
With their performances, the men improved on last year's outing at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Invitational when they finished 23rd.
On the women's side in the 6K race, senior Sara Meiners led the way for the Kangaroos to finish 20th (21:51), while junior Taylor Spencer was the next best finisher at 140th (23:22). Also, senior Autumn Scott (235th - 26:03) and freshman Florence Osei (242nd - 27:51) were able to set new personal best times.
Ayabei Earns Back-to-Back Weekly League Honors
On Oct. 16, Cosmas Ayabei earned his second Summit League Male Cross Country Athlete of the Week award after his performance at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Invitational. With this honor, it brings his total to four over his illustrious career as a Kangaroo.
Earlier in the season, the Kenya native notched his third-career league male cross country athlete of the week award on Oct. 2 after finishing second (24:31) out of 143 in an 8K race at the Notre Dame Invitational (Sept. 28) to lead his team to a sixth place finish.
A Look Back
Last season at the league championships, the men placed fourth (110 points) led by Cosmas Ayabei second place finish (26:46.40) to earn first team all-league honors. Also, Zach Mathias finished eighth (25:19.50) to earn second team all-league honors.
On the women's side, they placed third (99 points) led by Sarah Meiners finishing fifth (22:08.45) and Jylian Jaloma placing ninth (22:28.69) finishes. With their performances, Meiners received First Team All-Summit League honors, as Jaloma was named to the second team.
This outing for both squads was the best since 1999. In addition, UMKC increased its overall finishing position in The Summit League Championships in every season under head coach Shameika McField.
Men Receive Midwest Region Preseason Ranking for the First Time in Team History
On Aug. 27, USTFCCCA announced its preseason rankings and the Kangaroos claimed the 12th spot in the Midwest Region. In 2011, the men finished 13th at season's end.
Click here for the current rankings.
'Roos in the Classroom
Last season, 10 current Kangaroos were named to The Summit League Fall All-Academic team: Meg Doss, Courtney Frerichs, Angel Gannon, Sara Meiners, Siara Stahl, Cosmas Ayabei, Alloch Burton, Dirk Hudson, Daniel Mann, and Alex Nail.
Looking to Build Off Successful Season
In 2011, the Blue & Gold made significant strides. On the men's side, senior Cosmas Ayabei led the way by becoming the first UMKC runner to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, finishing 56th out of 252 runners with a school-record time in a 10K race (30:26.03). 14 seconds earlier, the Kenya native would have been an All-American selection.
Ayabei also had three top-five finishes, including the winner of the J.K. Gold Classic (19:08.04) and Oral Roberts Invitational (15:19.41). In the league championships, he finished second (26:40.40) to earn first team all-league honors.
As a whole, the men finished first in both the J.K. Gold Classic and Oral Roberts Invitational along with their highest finish in The Summit League Championships since 1999 at fourth place.
On the women's side, they finished third in the league championships and 19th in the NCAA Midwest Regionals, both the highest in school history. Returning for the Kangaroos is senior Sara Meiners, who earned First Team All-Summit League honors with her fifth place finish (22:08.45).
Shameika McField was named the head coach for the UMKC track and field/cross country programs on March 4, 2008. Before her appointment, McField served as the interim head coach for the Kangaroos from January to March 2008. McField joined the athletics department in September 2007 as an academic advisor.
Assistant coach James Butler joined the UMKC staff in July of 2011, and coaches the distance/cross country runners. He came to Kansas City after three years at the University of New Mexico.
Next Up for the Kangaroos...
Will be the NCAA Midwest Regional competition on Friday, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m. in Springfield, Mo., hosted by Missouri State.