AUGUSTA — Wichita State cross country coach Kirk Hunter gathered his women’s team for a post-race talk and counted heads. “Quit losing the freshmen,” he said.
During the race, the youngsters ran right where Hunter wanted, bunched together behind All-American Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton and her course-record time at the JK Gold Classic on Saturday at the RAFT Golf Course. WSU swept the team titles in the college division for the first time since 2007.
In the women’s race, freshmen Emilia Finley and Emily Hornbeck placed in the top 10 and sophomore Kaitlyn McLeod finished fourth, giving the Shockers the depth they needed to assist Tuliamuk-Bolton and juniors Elida Bailon, Samantha Shukla and Laura Burke. McLeod, WSU’s No. 9 runner last season, cut more than a minute off her time from the 2011 JK Gold Classic.
“The way they performed today was incredible,” Tuliamuk-Bolton said. “I was really telling them (Friday), ‘We win this first meet and our esteem is going to go higher and then our expectations will go higher.’ ”
In addition to a record time of 13 minutes, 27.75 seconds in the 4-kilometer race, Tuliamuk-Bolton became the first runner to repeat as champion since WSU’s Desiraye Osburn in 2004 and 2005. She broke the mark of 13:30.81 set by former Shocker Tonya Nero in 2010.
“I was really impressed with her finish, because that’s where she struggles,” Hunter said. “Coming up that hill to get that time, she finished well. That’s going to really pay off at the NCAA meet.”
Tuliamuk-Bolton pushed her expectations with a busy summer after finishing second in the 10-kilometers and fifth in the 5-kilometers at in the NCAA Outdoor meet in June. She upped her weekly mileage from 75 to 90. She finished 13th in the NCAA cross country meet last fall and wants to do better in November.
“I realized this is my last year and this is my last chance to do good,” she said. “It was tough. I had to pressure myself to do more. Two weeks, three weeks and then I got used to it.”
The WSU men grabbed three of the top four spots behind champion Fernando Roman of Kansas State. WSU’s Marcos Bailon led early before finishing second with a time of 18:42.42, five seconds behind Roman in the 6-kilometer race.
“It was what I expected, but I wanted to see it come to light in the race,” Hunter said. “I was really pleased with the way they teamed together. I saw Sterling Spencer out there pushing his teammates and stuff like that is what it takes to become a great team.”
High schools — The Maize South girls dominated the 4-kilometer varsity race, placing four runners in the top 10.
Mady Nestor won the race with a time of 16:00.11, followed by Maize South teammate Morgan Schaefer at 16:08.44.
Blue Valley West’s Stuart McNutt won the 5-kilometer boys race with a time of 16:36.02. North placed four runners in the top 10, led by Tristyn Villa’s second-place time of 16:48.05. Nolan Hesse placed third (17:06.17) to lead three Kapaun Mount Carmel runners in the top 10.
Individual — 1. Tuliamuk-Bolton (WSU) 13:27.75; 2. Galvan (KSU) 13:42.52; 3. Schiller (KSU) 14:17.34; 4. McLeod (WSU) 14:18.79; 5. Donnelly (KSU) 14:28.33; 6. Finley (WSU) 14:49.48; 7. Bailon (WSU) 14:51.38; 8. Shukla (WSU) 14:55.57; 9. Burke (WSU) 15:03.83; 10. Hornbeck (WSU) 15:09.96
Individual — 1. Roman (KSU) 18:37.09; 2. Bailon (WSU) 18:42.42; 3. Wike (WSU) 18:47.40; 4. Spencer (WSU) 18:50.09; 5. Baker (OBU) 18:52.42; 6. Godwin (OBU) 18:54.53; 7. Rennicks (Cowley) 19:03.67; 8. Drendell (SW) 19:04.01; 9. Adelman (SW) 19:05.06; 10. Cotter (WSU) 19:06.26.
Individual — 1. Nestor (Maize South) 16:00.11; 2. Schaefer (Maize South) 16:04.44; 3. Greene (East) 16:14.72; 4. Majaris (Trinity) 16:16.80; 5. Trumble (Maize South) 16:16.91; 6. Alexander (Trinity) 16:24.18; 7. Ma. Davied (KMC) 16:27.85; 8. Mo. Davied (KMC) 16:35.97; 9. Phillips (Trinity) 16:40.16; 10. Aitken (Maize South) 16:52.48.
Individual — 1. McNutt (BV West) 16:36.02; 2. Villa (North) 16:48.05; 3. Hesse (KMC) 17:06.17; 4. Williams (North) 17:11.91; 5. Hernandez (North) 17:14.98; 6. Dolecheck (KMC) 17:18.95; 7. Brittain (North) 17:29.26; 8. Sutton (Oxford) 17:35.69; 9. Lenihan (BV West) 17:38.55; 10. Moore (KMC) 17:40.50