Kansas hasn't won a Big Eight men's cross country title since 1969. The Jayhawk women have never won the league meet.
And nobody's expecting a crown this year heading into Saturday's conference championships at Manhattan's Warner Park.
It's not because the Jayhawks aren't worthy -- KU's women hold a No. 17 national ranking, the men No. 24 -- but because the conference is so deep.
"To get the idea of the strength of the Big Eight, five men's teams have been ranked consistently all year and three women's teams," KU coach Gary Schwartz said. "It's a very, very tough conference. We must perform at a high level. We have the kind of team that can do it. We just have to put together a good race."
Colorado's women's team is ranked third nationally, while Nebraska is 21st in the latest poll. Iowa State's men's team is ranked fourth in the country, while CU is fifth, Oklahoma State 10th and Nebraska 26th.
"Our women's team has been progressing nicely all year," Schwartz said. "The guys have been hving trouble getting 4-5-6-7 (runners) in the pack. But it's something we're capable of doing."
Melissa Swartz, who has paced all KU runners in four of five meets this season, enters as KU's No. 1 runner She's finished no lower than 12th in any meet, notching fourth at the Penn State Invitational.
Kristi Kloster, KU's other senior co-captain has been the Jayhawks' No. 2 runner in four of five meets. Soph Colleen McClimon has emerged as the No. 3 runner, placing fifth at the Kansas State Invitational.
Also running for KU: Whitney Ace, Erin Anderson, Emily Miles, Lynn LoPresti, Maureen Polischuk and Sarah Heeb.
The men's team is led by Cox and Johnston, plus Bryan Schultz, Cord Criss, Kurt Aiken, Kevan Long, Brian Watts, Joshua Webber and Chris Gaston.
"It's going to be a tight competition, both individual and team on the men's and women's sides," Schwartz said.
In past years, Kansas has fared better at the district championships than the Big Eight meet. The district meet will be held Nov. 12 in Springfield, Mo.
"Nobody's more aware than the athletes and coaches we've developed the habit we've not performed well in the Big Eight meet and done better at districts. We've talked about it all year," Schwartz noted.
WOMEN'S COACHES POLL
Colorado 46 points, Nebraska 44, Kansas 36, Oklahoma 26, Kansas State 25, Missouri 22, Oklahoma State 15, Iowa State 10.
MEN'S COACHES POLL
Iowa State 49, Oklahoma State 41, Colorado 39, Kansas 30, Nebraska 23, Oklahoma 18, Missouri 13, Kansas State 10.