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2014 Fall Sports Preview: Cross Country

A home course advantage at the 2014 Big 12 Championships and the high number of returning athletes has created some excitement for the 2014 season.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 KU men's and women's cross country teams will be lead by 2013 Women's Track and Field National Coach of the Year selection Stanley Redwine. The Kansas Athletic Hall of Famer and former All-American runner at Arkansas has really made a name for himself as a coach at KU and hopes to build a cross country program that can rival the teams he has produced in track and field.

Women's Team

The 2013 team was very young and was comprised largely of freshmen with 13 of them on the roster. All this youth led to some inconsistency at times as athletes tried to figure out their roles and positions on the squad.  However, the hope going into this year is that the early experience those young girls received will help them this year. Coach Redwine is hoping to build on the the experience those young runners got last year, but will rely on two returning upperclassmen to lead the way.

Hannah Richardson, the Academic All Big 12 junior from Kirkwood, MO, looks to lead the way on this year's team. Hannah finished last year strong and was the top finisher in every meet she appeared in. She finished 11th at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships and was awarded All-Midwest Region honors.

Helping her lead the younger runners will be fellow Academic All Big 12 junior Hayley Francis from Lawrence, KS. Hayley competed in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship finishing 131st and finished 67th at the Big 12 Championships.

With the leadership of these two juniors and the slew of experienced underclassmen the women's team hopes to make some real noise on both a conference and regional level.

Men's Team

The men's team hopes to build on the "middle of the pack" finish at the conference championships last year. The 2014 team boasts two of the top 15 returning regional runners and has set its sights on finishing near the top at this years conference championship. Not only that but, with the addition of Jeff Kipp as strength and conditioning coach, coach Redwine is confident that this team can make a push towards Nationals if it can stay healthy.

Leading this year's team is Academic All Big 12 Senior Evan Landes from Mulvane, KS. Evan finished 17th at the Midwest Regional Championships earning himself All-Region Honors and competed well at the conference championship taking 15th place.

Tyler Yunk looks to provide a spark after a successful freshman season in which he competed in every race. Tyler placed 82nd at the NCAA Midwest regional and 46th at the Big 12 Championships. If the sophomore from Belvidere, IL can build on last season he should really be a key contributor this year.

With so many runners returning to the scene in 2014 it appears everyone associated with the program has some high hopes for this season. Adding to the potential is the fact that KU hosts the 2014 Big 12 Championships on November 1st at their Rim Rock Farm facility in Lawrence. Those race times are TBA but be sure to keep an eye on them and make it out to support the team. I have heard Rim Rock is a pretty unique venue and is surely worth the trip out.

RIM ROCK FARM ADDRESS: 2276 Burnett Lane, Lawrence, KS 66044