UK Cross Country to Host Quality Field at Bluegrass Invitational

By Jacob Most
Sept. 12, 2014 -

Lexington, Ky. - The Kentucky cross country teams will welcome one of the best fields in the nation to Masterson Station Park this weekend for the Bluegrass Invitational. The men's 8,000-meter race will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET, while the women's 5K is scheduled to start at 10:10 a.m.

Fourth-ranked Oklahoma State - the Men's National Champion in three of the past five seasons - will help headline a field of visitors that also includes No. 21 Eastern Kentucky, and Division II No. 6 Southern Indiana.

The women's field includes No. 19 Oklahoma State. Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee will be joined by Ohio State, NKU, Morehead State, Akron and Bellarmine in visits to Lexington.

"This is yet another step on our team's preparation towards the championships portion of the season," UK cross country head coach Edrick Floréal said. "Home competitions bring forth an element of familiarity since the competition venue is also a training venue. Defending your home turf also brings out an element of pride. We will measure their effort and adjust moving forward as we prepare for the championships portion of the season."

Kentucky began the year with a standout performance by freshman Aundrea Busse two weeks ago at the Belmont Opener.

Busse ran a time of 17:32.94, bettering her high school cross country 5K best to take home a win in the first meet of the season. She has the fifth-best 5K time in the SEC this season, and the fastest among freshman.

The freshman's performance helped Kentucky to a second-place team finish, just behind nationally ranked Vanderbilt. The field also included Purdue, Western Kentucky and UAB.

Katy Kunc was the second Wildcat to finish, 11th overall, with a time of 18:05.08. Cassidy Hale was 20th, Whitney O'Bryan was 27th and Michelle McKinney placed 35th to round out UK's top-5.

The UK men's team finished fourth overall with 94 points, but the Wildcats could be expected to field a stronger squad at Saturday's home competition.

UK's top finisher was junior MacKay Wilson. He placed 15th overall with a time of 15:36.92. Mick Iacafano showed strong improvement from a year ago as he clocked a 21st-place time of 15:47.74. UK's top-5 was completed by Jared Phillips (24 - 15:50.53), James Brown (28 - 15:57.89) and Ryan Polman (32 - 16:02.62).

UK is hosting the Bluegrass Invitational for the second year in a row. The UK track and field/cross country program hosts what has recently become one of the best indoor track and field championships: The Rod McCravy Memorial every winter.

UK will also host the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships in 2015, after hosting the SEC Outdoor Championships last spring.

Live results will be available at following the conclusion of the meet.