Oct. 26, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky junior cross country and track and field distance runner Luis Orta finished 12th on Monday in the 5,000-meter finals at the Pan American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Orta, a three-time Southeastern Conference Men’s Runner of the Week winner this year in cross country, ran a 14:59.00 in the men’s 5,000m finals on Monday at the Pan Am Games. Orta, who was the youngest runner in the event by over a year, is running for his home country of Venezuela at the games.
“Even though the race did not go as well as planned, the Pan American Games gave me an incredible experience,” Orta said. “I had the opportunity to race against the best runners in North and South America. I am proud to represent my country, school, friends and family. I think this experience made me a more mature athlete and prepared me for future events.”
Orta has excelled throughout his three years at Kentucky. The Caracas, Venezuela native holds the UK freshman record in the indoor 3K and 5K runs, as well as the 3K steeplechase. As a freshman in 2009, Orta was named to the All-SEC outdoor second team and All-SEC freshman team in the 3K steeplechase.
Orta will compete again Monday at the SEC Cross Country Championship in Maryville, Tenn. Orta has led the Wildcats throughout the season, earning top-10 finishes in each of Kentucky’s four races, including back-to-back wins to open the season at the Belmont-VU Opener and the Tennessee Invitational.
Keffri, Neal Excel at Junior Pan Am Games during Summer
Orta wasn’t the only Wildcat representing his country in the Pan Am Games. UK freshmen cross country and track and field athletes Sean Keane and Keffri Neal represented their home country of Canada during the Junior Pan Am Games this summer in Miramar, Fla.
Keane and Neal each ran for Canada in the 800m run. Neal finished in fourth during the preliminaries with a time of 1:52.73. Keane finished closely behind him in fifth with a time of 1:52.76.
In the finals, each runner improved upon their preliminary time, with Neal finishing in fourth with a time of 1:50.05. Keane finished the finals in seventh with a time of 1:52.90.
The Wildcats open their season Jan. 13 with the Kentucky Invitational held at the Nutter Field House. For more news and information on the Kentucky track and field teams, go to UKathletics.com.