Landon signs with Wichita State to be a runner

Landon signs with Wichita State to be a

Jacey Roper and Cory Landon live two houses down from each other, were in the same kindergarten class, and last Wednesday, both signed a letter of intent to continue running  track and cross country in college at the Division I level.

Roper inked with Western Illinois while Landon will run at Wichita State.

They join fellow cross country athletes Colleen Madden, who will run at Indiana State, and Nolan Kreipe, who will head to the Naval Academy run cross country and to serve our country.

Landon is a three-time state qualifier and two-time state placer in the 1600-meter run for track. He was a member of the 4 x 800 meter relay team that went to state last year and finished 10th. Landon finished eighth at state a year ago in the 1600 meter run, at 4:26.58.

Two years ago, as a sophomore, Landon ran at state in the 1600, placing seventh at 4:24.62. And as a freshman, he qualified for state and ran the 1600 in 4:41.42.

Landon is the school’s all-time cross-country record holder on the boys side. As a senior last fall, he initially broke the school record at a meet in midseason at the Peoria Heights Invitational at Detweiller Park in Peoria, clocking in at 14.57.5. It broke a record that had been held by Steve Newman since 1978.

A few weeks later, at the state Class 1A cross country meet, Landon ran a tad better than his previous school record time, finishing sixth in the state as a result (14:56).

As a junior cross country athlete, Landon was 23rd in the state at the Class 1A meet in Peoria, finishing in 15:29. He is a two-time all-state runner, four time conference champion and four-time Alton Road Runner of the Year representative.

Landon said he was grateful to go through the recruiting process, calling it quite a process.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the coaches, family and friends and teammates that I have,” Landon said. “The college decision process was pretty amazing. The biggest thing about Wichita State for me was the staff and academic facilities that they have.”

Landon will be majoring in criminal justice. “It just worked out great – I loved every aspect of it,” Landon said. “That’s definitely why I chose Wichita State.”

There’s about six weeks left in the track and field season, culminating with the state finals in Charleston the last weekend in May. He has been running since sixth grade.

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but teammates, friends and family has gotten me through it,” Landon said. “It all worked out for the best. Everything that I’ve wanted to accomplish pretty much happened so I’m really blessed for that.”

In track and field, Landon is a two-time all-state performer in the 1600-meters, holding the school record at 4:20 in the 1600s.

He is a three-time conference and county champion in the 1600 with a chance to four-peat later this spring. He also is the state indoor champion in the 800-meters and 1600-meters  earlier this spring in Bloomington.

“This track season I want to finish out strong, my senior year,” Landon said. “Hope the best for my team and hopefully big things to come. Go Cavies!”

Charlie Helton has coached Landon the past couple of years in cross country and has helped with the track distance runners.

“If you look at the four captains -Nolan is going to give his life to service which is very impressive, and the other three of them all going to division one schools, it’s a pretty impressive group,” Helton said. “I hope these freshman, sophomores and juniors we got are learning from them and picking up the mantle. I’m just humbled to be their coach and work with them every day.”

Kirk Hunter, Wichita State’s head cross country coach and assistant track coach, is happy to have Landon coming aboard next fall.

“We are extremely excited about Cory’s signing,” Hunter said. “We think he will have an immediate impact on our program in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. He is an up-tapped talent who looks to only get better.

“I love his attitude and commitment to the sport, and feel he will be one of our most valued student-athletes for years to come.”