UK Women Compete at NCAA Championships for the First Time Since 1989

Nov. 23, 2008


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The last time the University of Kentucky women's cross country team participated in the NCAA Cross Country Championships, the Wildcats came away with a National Runner-Up finish, one year removed from UK's National Championship in 1988. Now, 19 years later, the Blue and White will compete at the season-ending meet for the fifth time in school history.

Besides the UK women's team National Championship and National Runner-Up finish, the Wildcats took home third overall in 1986 and placed fourth in 1985.

Also representing UK at the 2008 NCAA Championships is sophomore Adam Henken, who qualified as an individual after finishing fifth overall in the men's race at the NCAA Southeast Regional on Nov. 15.

Thirty other women's squads will join UK at the NCAA Championship Meet held at Indiana State's Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday. The women's 6k race begins at 12:08 p.m. ET followed by the men's 10k race at 12:48 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, gates open at 9:00 a.m. and no pets are allowed. Both races will be broadcast live by CBS College Sports beginning at noon.

Kentucky is one of three Southeastern Conference teams to earn a bid to this year's Championships; the Wildcats are joined by Arkansas and Florida. Seven UK women will battle 392 other participants on the course in Terre Haute. The Wildcats finished second at the NCAA Southeast Regional to claim an automatic bid to the NCAA meet. UK was the only squad to finish all five scoring runners in the top 36.

Two UK seniors earned All-Southeast Regional honors at the meet. Jessica Ortman placed 10th overall to continue her streak of leading the Wildcats across the finish line at each meet this season and 10 of 12 career races in the Blue and White. Jenna Ortman placed 15th overall to earn her first career All-Region medal.

The final three scoring runners for Kentucky finished seconds apart from each other. Sophomore Katherine Peterson raced across the finish in 31st overall while senior Andrea Halasek finished steps behind in 34th place. Junior Lindsay Petri's personal-best 6K run of 21:57 in 36th overall sealed Kentucky's bid. The spread from UK runners one through five was a mere 31 seconds. The top five Wildcats have scored in each meet they have raced in this season.

Rounding out the Wildcats' post-season line-up this year are junior Claire Laverty and sophomore Suzanne Holt who scored in two meets for the Wildcats this season.

Henken earned his first All-Southeast Regional honor by finishing fifth overall less than two weeks after earning distinction as a member of the All-SEC Second Team. Henken's 10K time of 30:26 was a 73-second improvement over his mark at the 2007 Regional. The Catharpin, Va., native has finished first on the team in five consecutive meets this season and has scored in 11 of 12 career races in the Blue and White.

The last time any UK man competed in the NCAA Championship meet was in 2003 when the Wildcat men qualified as a team.

Click UKathletics.com for a full recap of the NCAA National Championships.