Some college students might wake up on their 21st birthday and count the hours until a crazy night on the town.
Kansas runner Laura Lavoie rose early Saturday on her big B-day, sipped some H2O and prepared for a crazy morning at the cross-country course?
|See the pictures from the 2002 Bob Simmons Invitational at the new KUSports.com|
Yep, Lavoie's fun is to run. She held off a trio of Jayhawk teammates to win the Bob Timmons Invitational 5K women's race in a time of 18:33.14 on Saturday at Rim Rock Farm.
"I couldn't think about my birthday until this race was over, but it's a great way to start celebrating it," said a grinning Lavoie, who shyly admitted she would go out later Saturday and "relax" with her friends. "I didn't expect to win it this year. I had a lot of faith in my teammates and I expected one of them to beat me."
While it was Lavoie who triumphed, she was pushed by teammates nipping at her heels during a memorable season-opener for the Jayhawks.
KU's men ran away from runner-up Pittsburg State, 25-53. The women, who had the top four finishers, outscored the Gorillas, 18 points to 61.
"We're so pumped about that," said junior Paige Higgins, who finished 25 yards behind Lavoie and nearly 20 seconds in front of teammate Megan Manthe, who took third in 18:59.82. "We had a team meeting last night where we talked about how hard we've worked and how far we've come as a team for so long.
"We finished strong. We finished together. It was awesome."
Senior Eve Lamborn rounded out the top four, beating Oral Roberts' Miley Turnbull in a dead sprint in the final 100 yards to finish in 19:36.76.
"One, two, three four, I was really excited about that," said KU coach Stanley Redwine. "It was a great gift for herself (Lavoie's victory present), but I'm also impressed with second and third and especially Eve Lamborn."
Three more Jayhawks rounded out the top 10. Junior Lauren Brownrigg, senior Courtney Deutsch and sophomore Julie Mullally placed seventh through 10th, respectively.
On the men's side, senior Mark Menefee closed out his final competitive run at Rim Rock much as he did when he was a senior in high school at Buhler with a victory.
"It's nice to win in my final race here," Menefee said of his first-ever collegiate victory Saturday. He took the 8K race with a time of 26:03.51. "I hadn't really thought about it being the last time, but it definitely is. That makes it even more special."
Redwine said it was gratifying to watch his senior leave with a victory on his home course.
"It's exciting. This is his last year and he's going to go out right," Redwine said of Menefee's 50-yard victory over second place runner Mabior Atem of Park University. "Mark Menefee is special to us. He's a team leader and he's doing everything right."
While Menefee made the most of his last hurrah, several other Jayhawks used their familiarity with Rim Rock to their advantage.
Freshman Cameron Schwehr took fourth and was one of seven KU runners to place in the top 11. Steve Vockrodt and Brian Raggett placed fifth and sixth respectively. Dan Ferguson, Josh Madathil and Luke Belford secured spots nine through 11. Five more Jayhawks finished in the top 25.
"We're definitely excited on how both the men and women ended up, that's what we came out to do," said Redwine. His squads stay in state next weekend to participate in the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational. "Our goal today was to have a hard, honest race all the way through and that's what they did."