To any respectable Kentucky fan, Nashville is by now, something of a second home. From bowl games to SEC tournaments, away games at Vandy and now a couple WKU games, any self respecting fan of UK Athletics has undoubtedly experienced their fair share of Music City. By now you’ve graced Tootsie’s, Wild Horse Saloon, and the many, many other watering holes with your presence more times than you’d care to admit. Feeling tired of the same old same old? Want to warm up your vocal cords for Saturday night? Can you just not wait for football to cheer on the Cats? Luckily, you’ll have an opportunity to show just how die hard of a fan you actually are a full 24 hours before kickoff. That’s right, you can cheer not one but two Kentucky teams on to victory Friday evening at Percy Warner Park as the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams kick off their season at the Belmont opener.
This early season 5k is the first chance to see not only how the team reacts to new Men’s Assistant Coach Sean Graham, but also to see how second year Head Coach Edrick Floreal’s first class of recruits will contribute to this year’s team. Additionally it will be Senior Matt Hillenbrand’s first chance to back up his break out track season on the grass (Matt won the mile at last year’s SEC Championship). For the women, look for Cally Macumber to set out on what should be an outstanding season after her 6th place finish at last year’s National Championship meet. Macumber’s supporting cast will be headed up by returning All-Region runners Allison Peare and, my old friend from Morehead GSP, Anna Bostrom. The meet should give us some indication of who will be fighting for numbers 4-7 (top 7 runners compete in major meets) with returners competing for spots against an incoming class that includes The (other) Twins, Dupont Manual duo Cassidy and Kristen Hale. The Wildcats will be competing with a strong field that includes Vanderbilt and Tennessee. That’s right, you can cheer for Kentucky to beat the athletes wearing that terrible shade of orange. Ugh.
Percy Warner Park is a short 30 minute drive from downtown Nashville. The gun goes off for the men’s race at 6:30 with women following suite at 7. I promise none of Kentucky’s runners will mind that your shirt reads “Kentucky Football” instead of Cross Country. And you’ll still have plenty of time to hit up Tootsie’s.
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