The University of Louisville men’s and women’s cross country teams head to the friendly confines of E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer State Park for the first race on their home course this season, taking part in the 11th annual Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, Sept. 29.
After featuring 96 squads in 2011, this year’s meet, hosted by the Louisville Sports Commission, boasts 115 colleges and universities from 24 different states. Deemed the largest collegiate meet this year, the field boasts four teams on the men's side either ranked or receiving votes in the national poll, and 10 on the women's side ranked or receiving votes.
The men's gold race, which Louisville will be running in, is an 8K competition and begins at 9:30 a.m. ET. The Louisville women will compete in the women’s 5K gold race at 10:15 a.m. Following that will be four more collegiate races, with men's teams racing at 10:45 am. and noon, while the women's teams will run at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Louisville’s men’s squad, which checks in at No. 6 in the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association Southeast Region, will be led by true freshman Ernest Kibet. The Kenyan native, who made his collegiate debut two weeks ago, raced to a first-place finish – leading the men to a team victory – at the Winthrop Invitational on Sept. 15 in an 8K time of 24:13.17. The Cardinals also received solid performances from Gordon Dooley, Mattias Wolter, Evan Hibbs and Ryan Eaton, who each finished in the top 20 at the meet.
The Cardinal men, who have won the Greater Louisville Classic competition five of the last eight years, will face a strong challenge from top-30 ranked teams in No. 6 Texas, No. 8 Iona, No. 28 Columbia, and Georgia, which is receiving votes in the USTFCCCA poll.
The Cardinals’ women’s squad has been led by sophomore Michelle Molodynia, as she has been the team’s top scorer in both meets this season. The Niagara Falls, Ontario, native registered an eighth-place finish at the Winthrop Invitational, two weeks after finishing runner-up in the season-opener. Louisville also will look to junior Maria Frigo, who finished fourth in the season-opener, and freshman Leah Kiyohara, who was the team’s No. 2 scorer at the Winthrop Invitational.
The women’s field is highlighted by three top-10 teams: No. 1 Washington, No. 8 Vanderbilt and No. 10 Arkansas.
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/uofltrackxc or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/uofltrackxc.