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This past weekend the University of Louisville men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Boston, Mass. for the Big East Championship, where the men’s team placed fourth overall while the women finished eighth. This comes a week after the men’s team was ranked 23rd in the U.S. Cross Country Coaches Association Division I National Polls, a first in U of L history.
Cory Thorne, sophomore, placed sixth in a field of 119. Junior, Wesley Korir, and senior, Wes Seacat, placed eighth and 13th respectively with all runners coming in with times under 24:30.
“I thought our men ran very well as a team [Friday]. Cory Thorne ran a wonderful race, and Wesley [Korir], and Wes [Seacat] each had strong performances for us,” said Louisville cross country head coach, Ron Mann. “Our goal was to be a conference contender and our men are there right now.”
On the women’s side, freshman, Tarah McKay, finished 11th in a field of 131 with a time of 21:20, while junior, Sarah Weir, and freshman, Kortni Dukes, rounded out the top three Louisville runners with a 43rd and a 47th place respectively.
Their combined points led them to seventh place overall. The successful finish for the team points toward a bright future considering six of the seven runners whose times counted toward the final standings are freshman. The women’s team as a whole is very young with nine out of 12 members being freshmen, carrying only one senior and two juniors.
“Tarah [McKay] ran a strong race today and I think our women ran as well as could be expected considering how young we are. Sarah Weir ran a great race to finish second on our team, and we got a strong performance from Kortni Dukes as well. With such a young group of runners, we don’t expect to beat Notre Dame (defending women’s champion) or Providence, but we’re certainly capable of finishing in the top half of the conference,” said Mann. “We’re continuing to make very good strides in recruiting, and the current group of runners we have in the program have shown great improvement since we started training in August. We’re really excited about the future of the U of L women’s cross country program.”
With U of L placing in the top ten on both sides, they will have an opportunity to keep the momentum going in their next run, which is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 11, as they host the Southeast Regional Championships at EP Tom Sawyer Park.
In achieving the 23rd ranking, U of L beat five other nationally ranked programs in Terre Haute, Ind. at the Pre-Nationals Invitational. No. 7 Arizona, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 24 Iowa State, No. 26 Dartmouth and No. 29 Butler fell to Louisville as Mann and company placed seventh overall in the Blue Race at Pre-Nationals.
In the women’s rankings, U of L currently is not listed, however, No. 2 North Carolina State, No. 16 Duke, No. 25 Virginia and No. 29 Virginia Tech round out the regional powers, all of which the women’s side will run against Nov. 11. The Nov. 11 meet will be held at EP Tom Sawyer Park.