Cross Country Heads to Louisville for NCAA Southeast Regional

Nov. 12, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky cross country teams, led by head coach Don Weber, head to Louisville for the 2010 NCAA Southeast Regional at E.P. `Tom' Sawyer State Park on Saturday.

Schools that comprise the Southeast region, competing at the race, include teams from the states of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The women's 6K begins the day at 10 a.m. ET, with the men's 10K following at 11:15 a.m. ET.

The top-two finishing teams at each of the nine regionals automatically qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. The remaining 13 teams on each side (men's and women's) will earn at-large bids, which will be selected by the NCAA Division I Track & Field Subcommittee. At-large teams will be considered based on their regional finish as well as their regular-season results. Final selections will be announced on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 14.

Kentucky's top female finisher at the Southeastern Conference Championships, sophomore Cally Macumber, finished 13th overall completing the women's 6,000-meter course in 21:24.47. Macumber earned the top spot on the team for the first time this season while earning All-SEC second team honors. SEC second team honors are awarded for placing between seventh and 14th at the championships.

"What Cally did at the SEC meet, based upon her struggles season, was just unbelievable," head coach Don Weber said. "Two weeks prior she had probably run the worst race of her career and to summon the competiveness, the confidence and the courage to race the SEC meet like she did was one of the most remarkable things I have seen in 30 years."

Health has been an issue for the entire team, but sophomore standout Chelsea Oswald is the only one to be withheld from competition due to foot and hip injuries. Weber expects Oswald to compete at the regional Saturday and do well.

"Chelsea is the obvious leader of the team," Weber said. "She provides a great deal of faith and confidence to all the other girls just knowing she going to run the way she's capable."

In addition to Macumber and Oswald, two freshmen have made an obvious impact on the success of the women's team. Anna Bostrom and Taylor Wendler were awarded All-SEC freshman team honors as two of the top-seven freshmen female finishers. Wendler finished 30th overall for the women, navigating the course in 21:51.27 with Bostrom finishing 10 spots behind in 40th with a time of 22:11.08.

"To have solid, competitive and scrappy girls in the three and four positions is really the back bone of our team," Weber said. "They're the girls, along with our fifth girl, that will enable us to be successful."

Other notable women's teams competing in the regional include ACC powers Virginia, the 2010 conference runner-up and currently ranked No. 12 in the nation. Duke, the defending regional champion and currently ranked No. 17 in the coaches' poll, along with North Carolina, currently ranked No. 21 nationally, and NC State, ranked 29th nationally round out the strong field.

The men have an outstanding leader as well in Luis Orta. The sophomore has been the Cats' top performer five times this season and eight times in his two-year career. The native of Caracas, Venezuela finished 32nd overall at the SEC Championships completing the 8,000 meter course at the Fort Jackson Training Facility in 25:25.19.

"He's (Orta) just a great competitor that will go out and battle and that's what you have to have in your lead runner," Weber said.

Following Orta for the second meet in a row was junior Josh Nadzam who finished 42nd at SEC's with a time of 25:50.44. Fellow junior Colin Heenan ran well with Orta until the final 1,000m according to Weber but faded down the stretch finishing 50th in a time of 26:15.60.

Two impressive freshmen, Stacey Eden and Adam Kahleifeh, claimed the third and fourth positions on the Wildcats squad with No. 52 and No. 62 finishes, respectively, two weekends ago. Eden, who has consistently been in UK's top-three finishers this season, completed the race in 26:35.65 while Kahleifeh finished in 26:35.65.

"He's (Eden) big for us in terms of the success of our team," Weber said. "He's been in the top five every race and he's capable of even better than what he's done."

Both teams will need at least top-five finishes to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, Monday, Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. In the minds of the coaches top-four is really necessary to move on to the next competition.

Other notable teams in the men's race include NC State (ranked No. 16), the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference runner-up, North Carolina, No. 18 nationally, William & Mary, No. 19 in the nation and the defending Southeast Region champion, and ACC powers Virginia and Duke, ranked 21st and 23rd nationally, respectively.