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WSU notes: Cross country team relishes opoprtunity to run at TrackTown

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, at 7:39 p.m.

In Eugene, Ore., you can eat at Track Town Pizza, form a marketing plan with Tracktown Media and build a computer network with TRACKtown Computer Services.

No state takes running more seriously than Oregon. Eugene is the prime source, earning the nickname “TrackTown USA.”

“That’s where every runner in the nation wants to go,” WSU senior Chris Burnett said.

Wichita State cross country runners heard about it all summer. Their biggest regular-season meet is Saturday in nearby Springfield, Ore. The Bill Dellinger Invitational will offer WSU its toughest competition this fall and not everybody gets to go.

“A lot of programs don’t have the opportunity to travel like this,” WSU cross country coach Kirk Hunter said. “It’s a motivating force. To get an opportunity to go to Oregon is an athlete’s dream. They all want to be ready for (the Missouri Valley Conference meet), but they don’t want to miss out on this trip.”

Both Shocker teams are off to good starts this fall. The women finished first in Woody Greeno Invitational in late September. The men placed second with Burnett winning his second race of the fall. He ran the 8-kilometer course in 24 minutes, 58.50 seconds.

Burnett, from Bainbridge, N.Y., can use Saturday’s meet to show how he compares to some of the nation’s best. The 12-team men’s field includes No. 4 Oregon and No. 8 Portland. Burnett is running well after hamstring and back injuries slowed him last fall.

“The way the last two meets have gone, my confidence is huge,” he said. “I feel like I can run with almost anybody right now.”

As a junior, Burnett ran in four meets for WSU with a fifth-place finish as his best. He finished 27th in the MVC meet. Expectations are much higher now. The Shockers run in the Bradley Invitational on Oct. 18 before the MVC Championships on Nov. 2.

“I like the fact that his confidence is high,” Hunter said. “You knew it was going to happen if he could just stay healthy.”

The WSU women moved into the coaches association Midwest Region rankings at No. 10 this week. The men are not ranked.

On the back row — WSU volleyball coach Chris Lamb has settled on redshirt freshman Dani Mostrom as his libero, at least for the immediate future.

Mostrom, sophomore Jordan Hinkle and freshman Alyssa Carney rotated through the spot in August and September. Mostrom started at libero in five of the past six matches, plus Monday’s exhibition match against the under-23 Italian national team.

“Dani has been the most consistent from a passing standpoint,” Lamb said. “It’s not like anybody else is running away with the digging title, Dani either. Right now, she’s passing her way into this thing and you saw it again (against Italy) against some pretty good servers.”

WSU (13-3, 3-0 MVC) plays Southern Illinois (7-9, 2-2) on Friday and Evansville (6-9, 1-3) on Saturday at Koch Arena.

Tennessee’s best — WSU women’s basketball assistant coach Bridgette Gordon will be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on May 17 in Nashville.

Gordon, in her fourth season at WSU, played on Tennessee’s NCAA champions in 1987 and 1989, earning Final Four MVP honors in 1989. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and won an Olympic gold medal in 1988.

Scared away — “Tunnels of Terror” at Cessna Stadium is canceled after an inspection revealed the basement of the stadium did not meet fire safety codes for sprinklers specific to haunted houses.

The stadium, according to WSU, meets all other fire code regulations. However, the National Fire Protection Association International safety code is enforced by the state of Kansas for haunted houses.

WSU’s track and field team intended to use the haunted house as a fund-raiser. Assistant coach John Wise said the team will consider another attempt next year.

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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