WICHITA, Kan. –
Wichita State kicks off the 2018 post-season with the American Athletic Conference Championships in New Orleans, La.
Tulane will host the championships at the Golf Club at Audubon Park. The women will run the 6K course at 8 a.m., followed by the men's 8K race at 8:50 a.m.
The Shockers enter its second American Athletic Conference Championship race, after finishing fifth on the men's side and sixth on the women's side at the 2017 championships.
Representing the men's team include, Dray Carson
, Clayton Duchatschek
, Ben Flowers
, Josh Klein
, Ethan Kossover
, Cory Landon
, Alex Moen
, Pedro Montoya
and Zack Penrod
, Sean Curran
enters as the alternate.
Competing on the women's side include, Destini Eskridge
, Halle Johnson
, Winnie Kibet
, Winny Koskei
, Amber Reed
, Rita Schnacker
, Rebekah Topham
, Tangy Wiseman
and Yazmine Wright
, Suzie Garcia
will run as an alternate.
The women's race will welcome back 11 all-conference runners from the 2017 championship race, including individual champion Hannah Miller of SMU. Miller will look to become the first female athlete to win consecutive cross country titles in The American. The Mustangs enter the race with the highest regional ranking, coming in at No. 3 in the South Central Region.
UConn won the 2017 team title with 34 points, including five all-conference runners and three in the top five. The Huskies return all-conference runners Mia Nahom, Haley Hasty, Courtney Akerley and Danielle Jordan. UConn has placed in the top-15 in all four races during the regular season, including the season opener Minuteman Invitational.
Houston, Temple and Tulsa each enter the race with regional rankings, Temple at No. 7 in the Mid-Atlantic, Tulsa No. 11 in the Midwest and Houston at No. 14 in the South Central.
Wichita State has been led by Rebekah Topham
and Winny Koskei
, the duo has taken turns as the top finisher on the team. Topham, a redshirt junior, became the first athlete, male or female, to win four consecutive J.K. Gold titles. Koskei has paced the Shockers the last two outings at the 30th Annual Chile Pepper Invitational and Wisconsin Pre-Nationals. The women have three top-20 finishes, including a team title at the J.K. Gold Classic and a second place finish at the 30th Annual Chile Pepper Invitational.
The Shockers enter the race No. 12 in the Midwest regional rankings, the highest ranking the team has seen during the 2018 season.
Koskei led the Shockers to a sixth place team finish and placed 18th overall individually.
The men's race will feature 10 teams and seven all-conference runners from 2017, including individual champion Emmanuel Rotich of Tulane. Rotich has competed in two regular season races, including a first place finish at the Texas A&M Invitational. As a junior Rotich was named the 2017 USTFCCCA South Central Region Athlete of the Year.
Tulsa, four-time defending American Conference champs, enter the race No. 3 in the Midwest region, the highest regional ranking in The American. The Golden Hurricane graduated three all-conference runners but return 2017 American Freshman of the Year and all-conference runner Scott Beattie. Peter Lynch has paced Tulsa in two of the regular season races, including a team victory at the Missouri Southern Stampede.
UConn, Memphis and Temple each enter the competition with rankings in their respective regions. Temple is currently No. 7 in the Mid-Atlantic, UConn No. 11 in Northeast and Memphis at No. 15 in the South.
Wichita State has two top-5 finishes, including a second place finish at the J.K. Gold Classic and a fifth place showing at the 30th Annual Chile Pepper Invitational. Wichita State is led by captain Zack Penrod
and sophomore transfer Clayton Duchatschek
. Penrod led the team with a second place finish in the season opener and a top-20 showing at the 30th Annual Chile Peper Invitational, Duchatschek led the Shockers at the Wisconsin Pre-Nationals with a 124th place finish.
The Shockers remained idle at No. 14 in the Midwest region for five weeks, but in the most recent polls the Shocks have dropped out of the top-15.
Three of the Shockers top-5 finishers from the 2017 championships return for the 2018 race. Penrod placed 26th, Dray Carson
finished 27th and then freshman Ben Flowers
placed 36th. The men placed fifth in their inaugural season with The American.
Live stats will be ran through chippedtech, and a live stream will be ran by the American Digital Network via Facebook. With a 100% chance of rain forecasted for Thursday morning, the conditions will be wet and sloppy with a slight southeast wind and 73 degrees.