Ames, Iowa — Kansas University junior Reid Buchanan ran a career-best time and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Friday, and he did it all with one shoe.
Buchanan lost his right shoe in the first four minutes of the men’s 10K at the NCAA Midwest Regional and went on to place 12th with a personal-best time of 30:43.3. The Kansas men’s team did not automatically qualify after finishing fifth — one point away from tying for fourth — but Buchanan snagged the final individual spot for Saturday’s national championships in Terre Haute, Ind.
KU’s women also finished fifth as a team. The two Jayhawk squads learn today if they received at-large bids to the NCAA Championships.
“Our men had a great race today, and our front four really stepped up,” KU assistant coach Michael Whittlesey said. “Reid was outstanding and really ran well down the home stretch to sew up that fourth and final automatic spot. I’m also tremendously proud of what the women have done this year. They came into the season not even ranked in this region, and they just kept taking little bites and working at it. It just shows what a great year and race it was for them to get up to fifth.”
Sophomore Hannah Richardson led the Kansas women with a 20:41.3 time in the 6K, good for 11th place. Rounding out KU’s top five were: Natalie Becker (27th, 21:12.4); Malika Baker (46th, 21:34.1); Nashia Baker (50th, 21:38.8); and Courtney Coppinger (84th, 21:56.6).
Top finishers for the Kansas men were: Buchanan; Evan Landes (17th place, 30:52.6); Josh Munsch (19th, 30:52.5); James Wilson (27th, 31:06.0); and Tyler Yunk (82nd, 32:10.0).
Buchanan, Landes, Munsch and Richardson earned all-region honors.