It may be loved by many and hated by a few, but one thing is certain: Rim Rock Farm has become home to all who run for Kansas University.
"A lot of people try to avoid this course because it's so challenging, especially at the beginning of the year," Kansas sophomore Colby Wissel said. "But this course has a lot of history to it, and we take a lot of pride in it."
The Jayhawks successfully defended their home turf Saturday, completing a team sweep of the men's and women's team standings at the season-opening Bob Timmons Invitational.
Most impressive were the men, who took the top three places in a competitive five-mile run featuring 11 other colleges.
"They did an excellent job, and you can't ask much more of them today," Kansas coach Stanley Redwine said. "To get first, second and third at this meet with some really good runners out there, I was really excited."
The Jayhawks did not even suit up a few of their best runners, choosing to rest Big 12 champion Benson Chesang and also Paul Hefferon and Cameron Schwehr.
No matter. The rest of the Jayhawks picked up the slack, with Wissel pacing the field with a time of 25:33.57.
"At the two-mile mark, I picked up the pace a little bit and fell into a rhythm," Wissel said. "I just wanted to push myself and get a good race in."
Wissel did just that, completing the race by himself at the finish line a full 44 seconds before teammate Tyler Kelly.
"Colby's a stud," Redwine said. "He's a great athlete, and he's gotten better since even last year."
Tyler Kelly and Eric Sloan finished 2-3 for the Jayhawks, with Joshy Madathil right behind in fifth.
The Jayhawks' 20 points easily took top team honors, with second-place Grinnell posting 69 points.
The Kansas women didn't necessarily place high, but stayed together and finished in a flurry to take the team title.
Each of the Jayhawks' top five runners placed in the top 16.
"The key to doing well as a team is that you keep your pack tight," Redwine said, "and that's what we did."
Sophomore Connie Abbott gave the best individual effort, completing the 5,000-meter race in seventh place in 19:19.46.
"I saved a little too much for the end, but that's OK," Abbott said. "Next weekend I should have a little stronger race."
Laura Major (10th), Dena Seibel (11th) and Melissa O'Rourke (12th) finished in the second wave for Kansas.
The Jayhawks will travel Friday to the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational.