When Cameron Babb, cross country head coach, began recruiting for the return of Washburn’s distance running program, Jacob Klemz could not have been happier that the university took a chance on the Hayden High School graduate.
“I was a guy that was not really recruited much out of high school,” said Klemz. “They took a chance on me and it has been everything I could have imagined.”
Klemz has had an impressive athletic career with the Ichabods thus far. Most notably, he had an amazing finish in nationals in Saint Leo, FL where he took 58th place per wusports.com. This year, Klemz is aiming even higher, though. He aspires to travel to Evansville, IN at Angel Mounds State Historic Site for this year’s nationals.
“Contending for a top ten spot in nationals is really my ultimate goal this season,” Klemz said.
Klemz said that the team as a whole is eager to improve upon their previous successful season.
“We are definitely looking forward to hopefully getting a conference title and then after that hopefully a regional title,” Klemz said.
Klemz and his teammates intend to work as hard as it takes to earn their place amongst the top teams in the country. He said that he has a lot of respect for the current top runners.
“There are quite a few guys that are going to be out there [at the top of the ranks,]” said Klemz. “I am definitely going to have to respect them during the race.”
Beyond this season, Klemz has ambitious longterm goals as a cross country runner.
“My milestone goal is to win a national title for my school,” Klemz said. “This is what it has all been working up to.”
With a second place finish Sept. 23 at the Rim Rock Classic in Lawrence, KS, Klemz is prepared to maintain that momentum and set an even higher standard for Washburn’s revived cross country program.
Klemz and the rest of WU cross country will next compete Oct. 21 in the MIAA Championships in Warrensburg, MO, where they hope to become conference champions.