LOUISVILE, Ky. (News Release) – After facing tough competition at the Greater Louisville Classic, the University of Louisville cross country teams will encounter another strong challenge on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the NCAA Division I Pre-National Meet at E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer State Park.
The field, which consisted of 72 squads a year ago at Indiana State in Terre Haute, has nearly doubled in size to 136. The event has shaped up to be a good test for schools previewing the course that will host the national championships on Nov. 17, as 15 teams are ranked in the top 30 of the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association national poll.
A total of four races will be held on Saturday, as the men open the day with the seeded 8K competition at 9:30 a.m. ET. Following that will be the women’s 6K seeded race at 10:15 a.m. The next men’s group, the unseeded competition, is slated to begin at 10:45 a.m. The women’s unseeded competition concludes the meet at 11:30 a.m.
Louisville's men's squad, which checks in at No. 8 in the USTFCCCA Southeast Region, will participate in the opening meet of the day. The Cardinals will lean on their two freshmen, Japhet Kipkoech and Ernest Kibet, who placed eighth and ninth, respectively, two weeks ago at the Greater Louisville Classic and helped the men's team register a solid sixth-place finish. The Cardinals also received solid a performance from Gordon Dooley, who finished 46th with a time of 24:40.48. Rounding out the five scoring runners were Mattias Wolter and Edwin Kibichiy.
The competition is highlighted by five teams ranked in the top 15 of USTFCCCA’s poll: No. 3 BYU, No. 7 Colorado (last year's Pac-12 champion), No. 9 Tulsa, No. 14 Florida State, and No. 15 Oregon.
Notable individuals in the men’s race include the 2012 NCAA track 5,000m runner-up, UNC Greensboro's Paul Chelimo, and Tulsa's Chris O'Hare, who is the 2012 NCAA outdoor 1,500m national champion.
Louisville women's squad, which will compete in the last race of the day, continues to utilize its youth with sophomores Michelle Molodynia, Megan Klein and Leah Kiyohara. Molodynia, who has been the team’s top finisher in all three meets this season, clocked a personal-best 18:05.02 at the Greater Louisville Classic two weeks ago. Klein was the squad’s second placewinner on Sept. 29 and Kiyohara posted a top-50 finish as the team’s No. 2 finisher at the Winthrop Invitational in mid-September.
Competition for the women's race is just as strong as the men's race, as seven teams are listed in the USTFCCCA top 25: No. 1 Florida State, No. 4 Oregon, No. 6 Georgetown, No. 8 Michigan, No. 18 Colorado, No. 24 Villanova, and No. 25 Butler.
The most notable runners on the women's side include Oregon's Jordan Hasay, a 10-time All-American and 2011 NCAA Cross Country runner-up, and Wichita State's Aliphine Tuliamuk, the 12th place finisher at last year's NCAA Cross Country Championships.
For 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.