Cross Country Heads to Final Prep Meet Before SEC's

Oct. 14, 2010

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky cross country team heads to their final prep meet before the Southeastern Conference Championship at the Blue Ridge Open on Friday.

 

The field will consist of 20-plus teams on both the men and women’s side including the Duke women’s team who currently ranks No. 10 in the nation and first in the Southeast Region. Kentucky is ranked No. 12 in the Southeast Region dropping from No. 7 after last weekend’s ninth place finish at the Greater Louisville Invitational.

 

“This is the last prep race before the SEC Championships and I hope they’ve learned something through the season, especially the freshmen,” head coach Don Weber said. “It’s mainly in their heads, they need to manage the course better while being more daring and much more confident.”

 

The women’s team will be without All-SEC performer Chelsea Oswald for the second meet in a row due to a foot injury. The team competed well in Louisville but Weber is looking for them to continually improve and step up in Oswald’s absence. The loss of Oswald for two meets will affect the team’s chances for an at large bid at the Southeast Regional held in Louisville Nov. 13, but Weber expects them to make up lost ground at the SEC Championship.

 

Senior leader Suzanne Holt is coming off the best race of her career two weeks ago in Louisville with a time of 18:28.18. After Holt, the only upper classman, sophomores Cally Macumber and Hiruni Wijayaratne bring youthful experience to the course with Macumber finishing third on the team in Louisville with a time of 18:18.94. Currently, the hole left by Oswald has been filled with outstanding freshmen Taylor Wendler and Anna Bostrom who went one, two, respectively, at the last meet. Wendler completed the course in 17:43.11 for a top-30 finish while Bostrom finished 48th with a time of 17:59.18. Another freshman, Allison Peare has also done well leading up to this event finishing 93rd out 302 entrants two weekends ago.

 

For the UK men, Luis Orta finished 25th at the Greater Louisville Invitational completing the 8K course in 24:18.60 to lead Kentucky to a 19th place team finish. Orta improved his time from that event last year by 12 seconds as he finished first on the team for the third time this season and his sixth time in eight career meets. Freshman Stacey Eden competed well in a very physical race, navigating his way through a pile up on his way to a 96th place finish in 25:07.70. Colin Heenan and Josh Nadzam were the next to cross the line finishing in 25:09.66 and 25:29.51, respectively. Matt Wagner was just behind finishing in a time of 26:40.43. The men fell out of the regional rankings following this meet for the first time this season.

 

The race will be run in the Blue Ridge Mountains at a higher elevation than what the team is accustomed to in Lexington, but Weber and assistant coach Thomas Morgan don’t feel it will have an affect on the outcome the race. The women will run a 5K course and the men an 8K course at State Farm Fields, a grass and pea gravel venue. There are two bridges with wood flooring, which runners will cross twice each.

 

The Blue Ridge Open at State Farm Fields begins Friday at 3:00 p.m. ET with the women's gold race, and the women's open race is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. ET. For the men, the gold race will begin at 3:45 p.m. ET and the open race is scheduled to start at 5:10 p.m. ET.