After a less than stellar debut at the Belmont Opener, Cally Macumber bounced back in a big way, rolling to victory in UK’s first home Cross Country Meet since 2007*. Macumber ran away from the field, finishing almost 30 seconds ahead of second place in 16:32. Also turning in strong performances were Seniors Allison Peare (17:11 for 3rd) and Taylor Wendler (17:35 for 14th). Freshman Cassidy Hale wasn’t far behind Wendler, finishing 16th in 17:36 with Senior Anna Bostrom rounding out the scoring with a time of 17:58, good for 24th overall. As a team, the Lady Cats finished in 3rd overall, only nine points behind first place Eastern Kentucky and eight points ahead of 21st ranked Oklahoma State.
On the men’s side, Adam Kahleifeh turned in an impressive performance to lead the Cats, finishing in eight overall with a personal best time of 24:11. Fellow senior Matt Hillenbrand wasn’t far behind, finishing 14th in 24:26 with Zach Beavin (24:47 for 22nd), Spencer Hycray (25:13 for 32nd), and Jared Phillips (25:28) making up the rest of UK’s top five. The biggest story on the team side was 11th ranked Eastern Kentucky edging out first ranked Oklahoma State by 13 points, with Louisville next in third. UK finished fourth out of the nine teams competing.
Although it will be much clearer where both teams stand after the Pre-National meet in Oklahoma on the 28th, the Cats should only feel encouraged by today’s results. Adam Kehleifeh stepped up in a big way, providing the much needed second low scorer to go along with (or even ahead of) Hillenbrand. Although they’ll still need to improve as a team if they want to make any noise in November, today’s performance showed that this Men’s team can go out and compete with some of the best.
While early season rankings mean next to nothing, the women’s strong performance against several teams expected to fight for bids to the National Championship race should give the Cats confidence heading into the Pre-National meet. Cassidy Hale showed she will be a fixture in the top five this season, while Taylor Wendler turned in the kind of performance UK needs from her to be competitive. Although they will need each of their top five runners to have standout performances if they want to qualify for Nationals, today showed that the women cannot be counted out come SEC’s and Regionals.
*In a previous post I stated that this was UK’s first home meet in a decade. This was incorrect, UK hosted the SEC championships in 2007
Follow me on twitter, @BenduranceKSR