Ben Young and Katy Kunc led the Kentucky men’s and women’s cross country teams to second-place finishes respectively at Morehead State’s Eagle Opener on Friday evening.

Eastern Kentucky won the men’s and women’s team competitions as Friday marked the first team NCAA teams could begin the 2017 cross country season.

Men’s team report
EKU edged the UK men’s team 30-39. Morehead State was third with 62 points.

Young led the way for the Wildcats, covering the rain-soaked 5,000-meter course in 15:21.50 – 4.6 seconds behind race winner Addison Monroe (EKU).

Daniel Southard finished just behind Young, third overall in 15:24.30. Brennan Fields placed fifth in 15:25.40.

Kendall Muhammad was the fourth Wildcat to finish – 12th overall in 15:34.60. Matthew Thomas rounded out the UK scoring five with a 19th-place time of 15:53.10 to score 17 points (EKU’s sixth and seventh-place runners finished ahead of Thomas so their scores did not count).


Women’s team report
EKU finished on 23 points, nine ahead of the Wildcats. Morehead State was third in the women’s team race with 91.

Kunc, a 2016 cross country All-American, began her senior season with a second-place 5k time of 17:35.90 – 18.9 seconds behind winner Charlotte Imer (EKU).

Michelle McKinney was next across the finish line in 17:53.60 for third.

Avery Bussjager (18:28.80), Caitlin Shepard (18:43.00) and Sarah Crawford (18:47.20) finished 8-9-10 to round out UK’s scoring five.

Madisyn Peeples was 11th in 18:49.70 in her UK debut.

Cross country refresher
Points are scored in cross country corresponding to finishing place. The place of each of the top five finishers on each team are added up and the team with the lowest total wins. Placers outside a team’s top five cannot score so finishers on other teams that might finish behind a team’s No. 6 or No. 7 finisher can get a point total fewer than their overall place in the race.

2017 outlook
The Kentucky women’s team is ranked No. 4 in the Southeast Region by the USTFCCCA. The UK men’s team is the No. 5 team in the Southeast.

Kentucky had two representatives at the NCAA Championships last season.

In 2016, Katy Kunc was the UK women’s team’s first All-American since 2013. She earned bronze at the Southeastern Conference Championships and NCAA Southeast Regional last year.

A year ago for the UK men’s team, Jacob Thomson made the NCAA Championships individually for the second season in a row. Thomson placed seventh in the men’s race at the Southeast Regional. He was named SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year in October.

The UK men’s team placed third, and the women’s team was seventh at the SEC Championships last year.

The UK women’s team was third and the men’s team was fifth at the NCAA Southeast Regionals last year.
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.

In order to be eligible to participate in the championships, teams and individuals qualify in their respective NCAA regional competitions.

Thirty-one teams are selected to participate in each championship. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualify from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large.

Thirty-eight individuals are selected to participate in each championship through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process. All individual qualifiers finish in the top 25 in their regions.

The next meet
Kentucky will be host school for the Bluegrass Invitational at Masterson Station Park on Saturday morning, Sept. 9.


Men’s Results
Team
1. EKU: 30
2. Kentucky: 39
3. Morehead State: 62
4. Marshall: 111

Individual results (winner and UK only)
2. Ben Young: 15:21.50
3. Daniel Southard: 15:24.30
5. Brennan Fields: 15:25.40
12. Kendall Muhammad: 15:34.60
19. Matthew Thomas: 15:53.10 (17 points)
22. Cole Dowdy: 16:04.30
23. Alex Mortimer: 16:04.90
24. Tanner Dowdy: 16:12.10


Women’s Results
Team
1. EKU: 23
2. Kentucky: 32
3. Morehead State: 91
4. Marshall: 95

Individual (Winner and UK only)
1. Charlotte Imer: 17:17.10
2. Katy Kunc: 17:35.90
3. Michelle McKinney: 17:53.60
8. Avery Bussjager: 18:28.80
9. Caitlin Shepard: 18:43.00
10. Sarah Crawford: 18:47.20
11. Madisyn Peeples: 18:49.70


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.

‑ GO CATS –
For more information contact:
Jake Most

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