WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita State cross country team will open the 2021 season by hosting the 73rd Annual JK Gold Classic on Saturday, September 4, at 4 Mile Creek Resort in Augusta, Kansas.
Due to anticipated overnight rainfall, the organizers have decided to move the starting times of the races – pushing back the event to five hours. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. CT at the 4 Mile Creek Resort with the first high school race starting at 1:00 p.m. CT and college races begin at 1:30 p.m. CT.
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The new race schedule is as follows:
1:00 p.m. Varsity Girls 5000m
1:30 p.m. University/College Men 6000m
2:00 p.m. University/College Women 5000m
2:30 p.m. Varsity Boys 5000m
3:00 p.m. Junior Varsity Girls 5000m
3:00 p.m. University/College Awards Ceremony
3:30 p.m. Junior Varsity Boys 5000m
The women’s team will be led by returning all-conference runners Yazmine Wright and McKenna Paintin.
During last season, Wright and Paintin finished third and seventh overall, respectively at the JK Gold Classic meet in January to help lead the Shocker women to their fifth victory over the last six years, beating second-place Cincinnati by seven points.
“Last year was so much fun, especially because it was such a weird year, so to finally be back out on the course and win was just a great feeling,” Paintin said on the school’s website.
“This year, we’re just going in with that same mindset. It’s going to be great to finally have a real cross country season again.”
On the men’s side, meanwhile, Wichita State is led by all-conference runner Jed Helker, who joins nine other returners for the Shockers.
“Ideally, we’ll start off the season with a team win,” Helker said. “We’re returning a lot of good guys, so it would be good to get a solid race in and head into our next meet with some confidence.”
Helker looks to take the individual title this year after finishing sixth overall in the winter JK Gold Classic.
“For this weekend, the goal is to try to get the individual win,” Helker said. “We’ll have some really good JUCO and unattached guys there, so it will be a good competition.”