LOUISVILLE, Ky. (News Release) – The University of Louisville men’s and women’s cross country teams opened the season in style, as each registered team titles at the Mid-America Opener Saturday morning at the Evansville Cross Country Course in Evansville, Ind.
Collectively, Louisville has excelled at the event since first running it in 2007. The win for both squads marked their fifth team title each during that span.
The women started the day with a solid team effort from a squad dominated by youth. In a race that featured humid conditions, Michelle Molodynia paced the squad with a runner-up finish, clocking a time of 14:56.27 in the 4K. A sophomore, Molodynia shaved off more than 30 seconds from last year’s mark.
“Michelle had a solid run,” assistant coach Joe Walker said. “She did a good job of competing up front and, at points, it looked she had a chance to win.
“We were a little over a minute gap from (runners) 1-5, and we have to keep that within a minute for sure over the 6K distance, so we have to improve upon that.”
Maria Frigo recorded a fourth-place finish, freshmen Kelsey Cramsey and Leah Kiyohara followed with fifth and sixth-place showings, respectively, and Paige Dooley rounded out the team’s top-five finishers by taking eighth.
On the men’s side, Tyler Byrne captured his second individual title at the Mid-America Opener after winning the event last year, while leading the men’s team to the victory. Byrne, who finished the 6K last season in 18:30, clocked a collegiate-best time of 17:53.16 this season.
“The pace ran a little faster this year with Gordon taking it out for us and setting the tempo,” Walker added. “Mattias also gave us a solid effort, and I feel good where our top three were. I am confident when we add some others that we’ll be in good shape.”
Gordon Dooley and Mattias Wolter also registered solid finishes in the season opener, placing second and third, respectively. Evan Hibbs placed sixth and Ryan Eaton rounded out the team’s scorers with an eighth-place showing.
“It’s a good opener for us, and good to get that initial race feel back. This definitely sets us up for an idea of where we’re at and getting 2012 off to a good start. I want to see if we can carry this into a pretty competitive field down in Winthrop.”
After being idle next week, the Cardinals return to action on Sept. 15 at the Winthrop Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C.
For all of the latest information on Louisville cross country and track and field, log on to UofLsports.com, or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team's Twitter account at www.twitter.com/louisvilletrack.