Fall 2006

Leading Ladies

Sarah Becker
Senior Sarah Becker won the 5K race at
the Missouri Cross Country Challenge
Sept. 9 in Columbia and garnered State
Farm Missouri Valley Conference Athlete
of the Week honors for the second-straight
week. She also won the J.K. Gold Classic
5K race. 

For the Shocker women's cross country team, senior Sarah Becker has proven to be a leading lady. She won the first two meets of the season, garnering her State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors for two weeks in a row.

Becker, a Tulsa, Okla., native, led The Valley in 5k race times after her Sept. 2 win at the J.K. Gold Classic in a time of 17:47.64. At the Sept. 9 Missouri Cross Country Challenge the following week, she won the 5k race in 18:10.95.

“Sarah ran a great race today,” head coach Marc Burns said after the meet. “She really stepped up for us and literally ran away from the competition.” Despite illness, on Sept. 23 Becker ran the 6k Roy Griak Invitational in 23:13 for 89th place.

Last year, Becker finished 4th in the MVC championship race with a 5k time of 17:07, exactly one minute faster than her 4th place finish the previous year.

She was named an all-district athlete and an all-conference athlete, the latter for the second time.

Junior Kimber Lemon has emerged as another team leader, pacing the Shocks in two of three meets she has competed in this fall. After her standout performance at the Roy Griak Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Lemon was named the MVC Cross Country Athlete of the Week.

Her time of 22:29 and a 42nd place finish (out of a field of 288 runners) at Griak, one of the nation’s most competitive cross country meets, landed her the top spot in The Valley in 6k race times.

Lemon — a native of London, Ontario, Canada — has improved her 6k time nearly a minute since her freshman year, when she ran the Pre-Nationals race in 23:12. Her Griak time jumped her 66 places from her 108th finish last year in 23:08. Lemon’s first race this season was at the Missouri Challenge in Columbia, when she finished strong in the 5k to place second in 18:22.14, just 12 seconds behind Becker.

In WSU’s opening meet of the season on Sept. 2, the women’s team won its third-straight J.K. Gold Classic, the 58th annual competition held this year at The Raft Golf Course in Augusta, Kan.

The men’s team won as well. “I thought it was a fantastic performance by the teams,” Burns said.

On Sept. 30, the Shockers traveled south to the 70th Annual Cowboy Jamboree at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where Lemon placed 12th and Becker 15th in the 5k. Wichita State came away with an impressive second-place finish behind the host team. OSU is ranked 4th in the nation — and WSU’s women came in only 30 points shy of the winning total.

Burns was excited about the way his team competed in Oklahoma. “We had a great team race,” he said. “We had a 38-second split from our first runner to our fifth runner, which really helped us. We are racing well as a team.” Oklahoma State had four runners place in the top 15, while Wichita State put three runners in the top 15 out of a field of 136.

The Roy Griak Invitational was a telling race for Wichita State’s women, who posted a 12th place finish. “It was a good, solid race,” Burns said. “It tells us that when we run a great race, we can race with the top 30 teams in the country.”

Kimber Lemon
Kimber Lemon has paced the Shocks in
two of three meets she has competed in
this fall. Her performance at the Roy Griak
Invitational landed her the top spot in the
MVC in 6K race times.

Burns is in his first season as head cross country/assistant track and field coach at WSU after being named the sixth head cross country coach in the program’s 59-year existence.

He came to Wichita State after having served as the head cross country coach for the men’s and women’s teams and as the head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Loyola University Chicago for the past 10 seasons.

Last season, the success of the women’s team played a key role in contributing to WSU claiming the MVC All-Sports Trophy.

It was the third straight year the Shocks garnered All-Sports laurels, which are awarded based on a school’s average finish in each of the MVC sponsored championships.

Teams are awarded one point for first, two for second, three for third and so on, and the total accumulated points are divided by the number of sports in which a particular school competes.

Last season, the women’s cross country team earned the 2005 MVC championship title by finishing first out of 10 teams at the championship meet in Evansville, Ind.

It was WSU’s first championship victory in this sport since 1997 — Lemon came in fifth for the Shockers, placing 15th in the race, behind Becker’s 4th place finish.

In this year’s MVC preseason cross country coaches poll, the Shocker women’s team was the top pick to again win the championship title. Wichita State garnered seven first-place votes out of 10, leaving just three to go to last year’s second-place team, Missouri State University.

Since joining the NCAA in 1983, Wichita State’s women’s cross country program has established itself as one of the conference’s elite. Over the course of two decades, the Shockers have captured five conference titles, produced three individual conference champions and housed 21 all-conference members. And so far, the 2006 team is on pace for another championship season.


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Wichita State's volleyball resurgence has been fueled by outstanding hitters.

Leading Ladies

For the Shocker women's cross country team, Sarah Becker and Kimber Lemon have proven to be leading ladies.

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