Kansas University's cross country teams felt compelled to represent for the big dogs on Saturday morning. As the only Division I school present at the Bob Timmons Classic, the Jayhawks weren't about to let anybody else capture the team title at their only home meet of the season.
And for the second year in a row, both the men's and women's teams held top billing down just fine.
Each team placed first on its home course, easily ahead of the NAIA, Division III and community college teams that traveled to Rim Rock Farm.
For the men, the biggest push actually came from some of their own. The Jayhawks fielded an alumni team comprised of 11 former runners, including last year's top two, Paul Hefferon and Colby Wissel.
Hefferon finished the men's 8K race in first place (24:49.3) with Wissel in third (25:42.5).
Their efforts helped keep the alumni team within striking distance in the final standings, but the varsity still got the best of them by three points.
Freshman Donny Wasinger was the top varsity runner for KU, taking fifth place in his first collegiate race. Wasinger said the biggest change for him was adjusting from the 5K races in high school to the 8K grinders in college.
"It was kind of just a race to go out and figure things out," Wasinger said. "I think that's what we all accomplished as a team. A lot of the freshman guys, we hadn't run an 8K. We wanted to get out there and see what it was like, and I think we all did really well."
Junior Bret Imgrund finished strong for KU in ninth. Nick Caprario, Kaleb Humphreys, Brock Ternes and Dan Van Orsdel finished consecutively between 12th and 15th.
The women's team dominated the 5K run, as six of the top seven finishers were Jayhawks. In total, all 14 Jayhawks that ran finished in the top 33 spots of the 69-person field.
Junior Lauren Bonds destroyed the field by a full 24 seconds, taking first in 18:53.1. Sophomore Amanda Miller was the next to cross the finish line before Kara Windisch, Laura Nightengale, Megan James and Allison Knoll went 4, 5, 6, 7 for KU.
Bonds said the team ran the course on three occasions in the week leading up to the race, and the result was exactly what she wanted.
"It definitely helps us just to get our feet wet at home," she said. "There's not a lot of pressure here. I think it will help us down the road."
KU cross country coach Stanley Redwine came away impressed with his men's team, and he called the women's team's performance solid as well.
"We'll just continue to work our way up," Redwine said. "The season is long, but we have to do well at the end of the season."