UK Women Place Second, Men Third at Memphis Twilight
Sept. 14, 2008
MEMPHIS - The University of Kentucky cross country squads battled tough competition and the remnants of Hurricane Ike at the Memphis Twilight Classic hosted by Christian Brothers University, Saturday. High winds and humidity caused the course at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex to run slower than normal but the Wildcats overcame the conditions to place second on the women's side and third in the men's standings at their first meet of the season.
The Wildcat women placed four runners in the top 13 of the race. Seniors Jessica and Jenna Ortman along with sophomore Katherine Peterson crossed the finish line of the 5K course within seconds of one another for the Wildcats' top three marks. Jessica Ortman placed seventh at a pace of 18:30 while Jenna Ortman followed in the eighth slot with a time of 18:31. Peterson finished immediately behind the Ortmans at 18:32 in the ninth position.
UK senior Andrea Halasek ran 13th overall with a time of 18:49. Sophomore Suzanne Holt finished the scoring for the UK women clocking in at 19:49 for 40th overall. Newcomers Audrey Holbrook (20:59 - 85th) and Meredith Jaworek (21:15 - 94th) completed the active Wildcat line-up in a field of 275 runners. Three regulars in the line-up last season, Claire Laverty, Lindsay Petri and Leah Ryan, sat out the first race for the Wildcats.
During the race, the UK women battled an unexpected yet familiar foe in defending SEC Champion Arkansas this weekend. The Lady Razorbacks had to alter the team's travel plans due to Hurricane Ike and made a last-minute trek to Memphis to join the field. Arkansas' Catherine White was the overall winner just ahead of two of her teammates as the Razorbacks claimed the top three slots.
The Wildcats and Razorbacks claimed nine of the top 13 positions in the race for a 1-2 SEC finish in the 36-team field. Arkansas' 22 points clinched the win as Kentucky finished second with 75 points.
"I am pleased with our women's debut race," said assistant cross country coach John Mortimer. "Having Arkansas' women, the heavy favorite to win the SEC, in the field changed our expectations in the season opener for the ladies. Our top four ran solid races with only a 19-second gap between them and Suzanne Holt stepped up as a much-improved runner from last year as the team's fifth scorer."
The UK men opened the season impressively, placing seven runners in the top-20.
Red-shirt Freshman Colin Heenan led the pack of Wildcats at the front of the race. After sitting out the 2007-08 cross country and indoor track seasons due to anemia, Heenan shined in his cross country debut crossing the finish line of the 8K course in 25:25 for seventh overall.
UK junior Jeremy Zagorski, a transfer from Boston College, placed eighth with a mark of 25:27. Sophomore Adam Henken finished alongside Zagorski in ninth place with a career-best 8K time of 25:27 in slow course conditions. Freshman John Luttrell made his debut in the Blue and White in 14th, clocking in at 25:56. Senior Bruce Hordusky turned in the fifth stick for the Wildcats with a 26:05 mark to place 15th.
Fellow seniors Chris Long (26:06) and Zach Wilder (26:20) both finished in the top-20 in the 17th and 20th positions, respectively. The rest of the Wildcat contingent all placed among the top-50 of the 238-man field and included freshman Josh Nadzam (26:39 - 28th), junior Will Rover (26:50 - 32nd), freshman Walter Luttrell (27:17 - 48th) and freshman Joe Jackson (27:19 - 49th).
Despite being the only squad to place all five scorers among the top 15, the Wildcats finished third behind Harding University and Eastern Kentucky because those two schools each had three of the top six runners overall.
"Our men's squad is a much-improved squad from last year," said Mortimer. "We have a much deeper team; the proof was having all seven runners in the top 20 of the race. With only a 40-second gap from runners one thru five, I am encouraged with the potential of our men's squad.
"Colin Heenan was a pleasant surprise as our team's top finisher. It is great to see a young athlete stick it out when things are not going their way, hard work and perseverance does pay off. Our transfer Jeremy Zagorski and true freshman John Luttrell, helped to create the depth of our top seven."
The Wildcats will have a short week of practice before flying to New York for the Iona Meet of Champions next week.
Follow all of the latest cross country news on UKathletics.com.
MEMPHIS TWILIGHT TEAM RESULTS (TOP 5)