The Kentucky men’s cross country team placed eighth, and the women’s team was 11th – led by Katy Kunc’s ninth-place individual finish – on Friday at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships.
Men’s team report
Jacob Thomson was UK’s top men’s finisher running 29:58.60 to take 27th place in his first cross country 10k of the season. Brennan Fields was the next competitor to complete the race, .40 seconds after Thomson.
Ben Young was UK’s No. 3 finisher – 55th overall – in 30:43.20. Daniel Southard was 71st in 31:02.70, and Matthew Thomas rounded out the UK top-five scoring places in 31:09.60.
The UK men’s team was ranked 10th in the Southeast by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association entering the week.
Women’s team report
Kunc ran a 6k time of 20:32.50 to finish ninth overall, leading the way for the Wildcats who finished with 283 points, 42 points back of 10th-place Duke.
Avery Bussjager was UK’s No. 2 finisher – 50th overall – in 21:48.50. Michelle McKinney was 57th in 21:54.90, Sarah Crawford was 75th in 22:14.00 and Caitlyn Shepard rounded out the UK top-five with a 92nd-place time of 22:25.20.
The Kentucky women’s team was ranked No. 9 in the Southeast Region entering this week.
The name of Friday’s game was qualifying for the NCAA Championships, to be run on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Louisville, Kentucky.
The top-two teams at each regional championship punched an automatic bid to NCAAs.
In addition to the 18 automatic bids coming from the nine regional meets to be held around the nation on Friday, another 13 at-large bids will be extended Saturday based on 2017 competition résumés – based largely on head-to-head.
The top-four individual regional finishers not on advancing teams automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. Individual at-large bids can also be extended. Those at-large bids will be announced with the full NCAA Championships field on Saturday.
The southeast region includes all Division I universities in Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
No. 7 Furman, No. 9 Virginia Tech and No. 23 North Carolina State are the Southeast Region men’s teams ranked in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Coaches Poll.
No. 5 NC State, No. 12 Furman and No. 23 Eastern Kentucky are the top-25 Southeast women’s teams.
The Kentucky women’s team placed third with 164 points last season at NCAA Southeast Regionals.
Katy Kunc finished third overall in a 6k time of 20:26.60 to earn an individual automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. She became the first Kentucky women’s team member to earn a NCAA individual bid since Cally Macumber in 2013.
The Kentucky men’s team finished fifth on 60 points at Regionals last year.
Jacob Thomson placed seventh overall and earned his second consecutive NCAA at-large team bid in 2016.
UK has not qualified for the NCAA Championships as a team since the women’s squad did so in 2008. The Kentucky men’s team last made NCAAs in 2003 – placing 28th with 642 points.
The NCAA will announce the full National Championships field on Saturday.
For the most in-depth coverage of the UK cross country and track and field program follow the @KentuckyTrack social media channels on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well as on UKathletics.com.
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