UK Cross Country Squads Sweep Marshall, Eastern Kentucky
Sept. 4, 2009
RICHMOND Ky. - The Kentucky cross country teams started their seasons off on the right foot, topping Marshall and Eastern Kentucky at the EKU Invitational on the Colonels' wood chip trail in Richmond, Ky., Friday evening.
The meet differed from a traditional cross country competition; set-up in a relay format. Athletes were paired with a teammate to compete as a relay duo with each male runner completing two clips of two-mile runs and each female runner taking three loops on a one-mile course. The five fastest times from each school were added together to produce the final scores. The UK men topped EKU 22 to 33 and defeated Marshall 18 to 41. The Wildcat women knocked off the host Colonels 26 to 43 and the Thundering Herd 15 to 50.
The UK women kicked off the meet in the first race. The Wildcats fielded six teams that ran a total of six miles with each runner completing three miles. UK's team three featuring freshman Chelsea Oswald and senior Claire Laverty teamed up to win the relay. As individuals, the Wildcats placed nine runners in the top 11 paced by Oswald's 3-mile mark of 15:54. Junior Katherine Peterson turned in the second-best time of 16:32. Freshman Samantha Norman (16:46 - 3rd) and junior Lindsay Petri (16:57 - 5th) both placed in the top five while Laverty followed close behind in seventh at 17:09.
In the men's race the Wildcat tandem of junior Adam Henken and freshman Luis Orta outdistanced the field, as both finished in the top four individually. But it was UK freshman Matt Sonnenfeldt who turned in the top overall four-mile time of 19:02, aided by his second two-mile finish when he picked up the pace over the final 50 yards to overtake a runner from Marshall on the final hill. Henken's time of 19:09 was good for second overall while Orta ran fourth with a mark of 19:28. Junior Matt Wagner (19:42 - 8th) and sophomore Josh Nadzam (20:06 - 10th) also finished in the top 10 individually for the Cats.
"This meet was a pretty good start for our men and women actually," said UK assistant coach for cross country and distance John Mortimer. "On the men's side up front we had some power with Luis Orta and Adam Henken, our one and two runners, teaming up for a very strong duo and they looked great. For the women we tried to make three or four equally strong teams and our depth showed up with our freshman recruiting class.
"The biggest surprise tonight was how fit our freshman girls are; they looked pretty dominant. They were all accomplished high school athletes but they clearly did the work this summer. This was the first litmus test for how they could possibly perform down the line."
The Wildcat women are coming off of their fifth NCAA Championship bid in school history. UK finished 31st in the nation in 2008 and return four harriers from that squad in seniors Petri and Laverty along with juniors Peterson and Suzanne Holt.
The UK men return six runners from a team that placed 13th at the NCAA Southeast Regional last season. Henken ran as an individual competitor at the NCAA Championships last year and crossed the finish line first for the Cats in six of seven meets in 2008.
The Wildcats run again in two weeks at the Old Timers Classic hosted by Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, Ky.
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