Cross Country Opens 2012 Season

Aug. 30, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – In the first season under the direction of head coach Edrick Floreal, the University of Kentucky cross country team opens the 2012 season Saturday at the Belmont Opener held on Vaughn’s Creek Course at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn.

The women will hit the course first with a 4K race at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the men’s 5K race at 7:00 p.m. The field consists of regional schools, including Belmont, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky.

“We are extremely excited to get the season going,” Floreal said. “It has been a busy preseason and the team is working hard to get ready to meet their goals. We are focused on building this program back into one of the tops in the nation and this meet is our first opportunity to begin that process. Our student-athletes are excited and I am thrilled to get the season started.”

Floreal took over duties atop the Track & Field and Cross Country programs after former UK coach Don Weber stepped down from his duties after 28 years. Floreal brings excitement to the program after spending six years as the director of track and field at Stanford.

The women’s team enters the opening weekend ranked as the No. 9 team in the Southeast Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Senior Chelsea Oswald was the top finisher for the UK women at the Belmont-VU Opener in 2011, placing 11th overall with a time of 14:34.25 while Taylor Wendler finished 13th at 14:35.73. The women finished the last year’s 4K event in third.

“I’m very excited for the women to be in a race situation and see how they react,” said assistant coach Hakon DeVries. “Training has been going very well and I’m looking forward to seeing some positive results. I’m pleased with the leadership from the upperclassmen coming into the year and anticipate an exciting and successful year.”

Led by senior Luis Orta, a first team All-Southeastern Conference selection and three-time SEC Runner of the Week honoree in 2011, the men’s team enters the season as the No. 15 team in the Southeast Region, ranked by the USTFCCCA.

The men’s team took first at the 2011 Belmont-VU Opener, accumulating 62 points, including Orta finishing first overall with a time of 15:22.40 in the 5K. The winning effort was based on contributions from everyone as Stacey Eden, Mackay Wilson and Josh Nadzam all earned top-15 finishes.

Kentucky will compete in four events during the regular season this fall, including the Belmont Opener. Follow Friday’s opening meet, the Wildcats will travel to Charlottesville, Va., for the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational on Sept. 22. Kentucky next two events will be in Louisville, Ky., first competing in the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29, before competing in Pre-Nationals on Oct. 13. The SEC Championships will be held in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 26.