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A killer QB, a Sooner killer and a pair of top-5 cross country finishes

3 min read

Every week we take a look back at the performances by KU athletes that were above and beyond.

From football to volleyball, cross-country, and all across the athletic department, we'll break down the best of the best in the world of Kansas athletics.

Performance #1: Jason Bean

Background: Kansas football’s redshirt-senior quarterback Jason Bean started his fourth game of the 2023 season against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Coming off a light eight completions for 91 yards and a touchdown in a win against the UCF Knights at home a week earlier, Bean exploded for a career game in Stillwater.

What happened: The KU QB lit up the stat sheet in arguably his best performance as a Kansas Jayhawk, despite a 39-32 loss to the Cowboys. Bean finished the day with a career-high 410 yards through the air, along with a career-high 5 passing touchdowns to keep the Jayhawks in the game. Bean also threw for a career-high 23 completions in a game in which Kansas had to work its offense through the air, only totaling 90 rush yards on 29 attempts.

Why it’s so great: Even with two interceptions in key moments in the game, Bean showed how valuable he can be to this Kansas offense. In his third-straight start, with starting junior quarterback Jalon Daniels out, Bean has thrown for 637 yards and seven touchdowns. With Daniels’ return timetable uncertain, Bean will have full control of the offense moving forward, and his numbers against the Cowboys should have Jayhawk fans excited for their upcoming home game against the No. 6-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.

KU's Ayah Elnady (17) gets fired up with her teammates after a big point during the Jayhawks' sweep of the Oklahoma Sooners last weekend. [Chance Parker photo]

Performance #2: Ayah Elnady

Background: After back-to-back losses to No.6 Texas in Austin, the Kansas volleyball team faced the Oklahoma Sooners on its home floor last weekend, looking for a big bounce-back win. And Elnady showed out for her team.

What happened: The junior outside hitter from Cairo, Egypt, fueled the Jayhawks to a 3-0 sweep of the Sooners on Saturday, Oct. 14. She tied her teammate — graduate transfer outside hitter Reagan Cooper — for a match-high in kills with 15 on just 25 attempts, ending her day with only one attack error. Elnady finished with a .560 hitting percentage, adding seven digs to her stat line, tied for second-most on the team.

Why it’s so great: With Elnady’s dominant performance, Kansas volleyball moved to 13-4 on the season and 8-1 in Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena. The Jayhawks’ sweep of the Sooners bumped them up in the NCAA rankings, moving to No. 14 in the country, the highest they’ve been all season. Elnady ranks second on the team in kills this season, racking up 164 kills in 58 sets so far.

Performance #3: Chandler Gibbens & Lona Latema

Background: Both Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at Pre-Nationals Invite in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 14. The men’s team competed in the Blue Championship 8k race, placing 15th out of 23 teams competing. The women’s team competed in the Women’s Orange 6k Race, placing 5th out of 15 teams.

What happened: Despite the men’s team placing 15th, senior distance runner Chandler Gibbens excelled in the 8k race. Gibbens ended with a top-5 finish, earning fourth place out of 191 runners.

With the women’s team placing 5th, senior distance runner Lona Latema placed 2nd overall out of 171 runners . Latema finished with a time of 20:46.2 in the Women’s Orange 6k race, seven seconds faster than the 3rd-place finisher.

Why it’s so great: Gibbens finished with a time of 23:09.6, just missing his personal-best time of 23:08.4. Gibbens’ time earned him his second Big 12 Runner of the Week honor and the third of his career.

Coming off an illness the previous week, Latema led the entire women’s team with her 2nd-place finish, 13 spots ahead of the next Jayhawk finisher. Next up, the Jayhawks will head to the Big 12 Championship on Oct. 28 in Ames, Iowa.

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