Cross Country Prepares for SEC Championships
Oct. 30, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - After a strong season that saw the men's and women's University of Kentucky cross country teams earn three total team victories and two first-place individual finishes, the Wildcats head to Maryville, Tenn., for the Southeastern Conference Championships on Monday.
The SEC Championships are being hosted by Tennessee at Lambert Acres Golf Club this year, with the men's 8,000-meter race starting at 10:00 a.m. ET, and the women's 6K race beginning at 11:00 a.m.
"Cross country is a championship oriented sport. We hope and believe that our regular season meets helped train us to know how to best spend our energy over five miles," UK head coach Don Weber said. "Based upon what we've learned, we just need to be more daring in this race. We think we're running smart, but we might be running safe. We need to be a little more daring and aggressive and kind of establish ourselves in contending positions earlier in the race rather than conservatively running and then trying to run hard. Sometimes we have more run in our tank at the end than we should."
Competing for Kentucky on the men's side will be seniors Walter Luttrell and Josh Nadzam, junior Luis Orta, sophomores Stacey Eden and Adam Kahleifeh, and freshman Mackay Wilson. On the women's side, senior Megan Broderick, juniors Chelsea Oswald and Megan Wright, and sophomores Anna Bostrom, Allison Peare and Taylor Wendler will race for Kentucky.
Kentucky should feel comfortable at Lambert Acres Golf Club on Monday after having already raced at the course earlier this year. The Kentucky men's and women's teams defeated Tennessee at the Tennessee Invitational on Sept. 17 in a dual meet held at the 27-hole golf course nestled in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains. Orta finished in first on the men's side with a time of 25:07.34. Oswald led the UK women with a time of 18:13.22 on a 5K course. Monday's race will be a 6K.
Orta has led the men's team throughout the year. The Caracas, Venezuela native who raced last week for his home country in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, has finished in the top 10 in every race this season. Orta got off to a hot start in 2011, winning the Belmont-VU Opener and the Tennessee Invitational en route to being named the SEC Men's Runner of the Week three times.
The women's team has been led by many different runners throughout the season, including Oswald and Broderick. Oswald paced the Wildcats in each of their first three races this season, including a second place-finish overall at the Tennessee Invitational. Broderick, who is in her first year racing with the cross country team after a stellar four-year career with the tennis team, has finished among the top three on the team in every race this season, including a 23rd-place finish at the Panorama Farms Invitational two weeks ago, the first 6K race of the season for the women's team.
The top seven finishers of the men's 8K race and the women's 6K race will be named to the All-SEC first team. The All-SEC second team will be comprised of men and women finishers 8-14. The top seven men and women freshmen finishers will be named to the SEC All-Freshman team.
Arkansas enters the meet as the defending SEC men's cross country team champion, while Florida won the 2010 SEC Women's Cross Country Championships. The Kentucky men's and women's cross country teams each finished in eighth at last year's SEC championships. UK junior Cally Macumber was named second team All-SEC in 2010, while Wendler and Bostrom were named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.
The Kentucky men's cross country team has won the SEC championship four times, with the last championship coming in 1988 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The women's team has taken the conference crown three times, with the last championship occurring in 1989 in Auburn, Ala.
The men have run the SEC Championship on an 8K course since 1986, while the women have run on a 6K course since 2000.
For more news and information on the UK cross country teams, including results from the Southeastern Conference Championship, go to UKathletics.com.