Sept. 15, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Running in his first collegiate race, freshman Ernest Kibet secured career win No. 1 and led the University of Louisville men's cross country squad to a team title Saturday morning at the adidas/Winthrop Invitational at the Winthrop Farm course in Rock Hill, S.C.
Kibet, a native of Eldoret, Kenya, held a steady pace with the leaders in the 8K before pulling away in the final stretch. He completed the course in 24:13.17, more than a full second ahead of the runner-up, and averaged a 4:52.4 mile.
"He looked really good and really relaxed," assistant coach Joe Walker said. "He let the race set up in front of him and didn't take the lead until last 400m. He had good battle with Gilbert Kemboi (USC Upstate) and the two went to the line together."
Behind solid performances also from Gordon Dooley, Mattias Wolter, Evan Hibbs and Ryan Eaton, who all finished in the top 20, the Cardinals eased their way to their second team title of the season with 44 points, 28 points better than runner-up Appalachian State and 41 points better than southeast regional foe Liberty.
Dooley captured a fourth-place finish, completing the course in 24:31.90, while Wolter also registered a top-10 standing, as he finished the race in 24:55.55 to take eighth. Hibbs took 11th, and Eaton rounded out the scoring runners by placing 20th.
"I felt good about the guys," Walker added. "We put four in the top 12 and that was without one of our top runners in Tyler Byrne."
On the women's side, Louisville was led by sophomore Michelle Molodynia's ninth-place finish. The Niagara Falls, Ontario, native clocked a personal-best 18:25.25 in the 5K to lead the group to an 11th-place overall finish.
"The women had a tough go," Walker said. "Maria Frigo
had some issues late in the race and pulled out, so that certainly affected our team score. Michelle had a solid run, and Leah Kiyohara
, a freshman, ran at No. 2 for us with a personal-best in the 5K."
Kiyohara finished in 19:16.76 for 45th overall (44 scoring). Cassie Martin, Megan Klein and Kelsey Cramsey rounded out Louisville's scoring runners.
The Cardinals return to action in two weeks, taking part in the 11th annual Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 29 at E.P. `Tom' Sawyer State Park. The first men's 8K race of the morning begins at 9:30 a.m., and that is followed by the first women's 5K at 10:15 a.m.
"Our course runs a little a faster, and I feel like there's better footing," Walker said of returning home in two weeks. "The field will be one of the best in the history of the Classic, so hopefully we can line up at full strength and add 2-3 guys into the mix. I feel pretty good if we can put it all together."
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.
MEN'S TEAM RESULTS
1. LOUISVILLE, 44; 2. Appalachian State, 72; 3. Liberty, 85; 4. Western Carolina, 125; 5. High Point, 160
MEN'S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
1. Ernest Kibet, 24:13.17; 4. Gordon Dooley, 24:31.93; 8. Mattias Wolter, 24:55.55; 11. Evan Hibbs, 25:11.85; 20. Ryan Eaton, 25:41.84;
WOMEN'S TEAM RESULTS
1. Appalachian State, 58; 2. Liberty, 70; 3. Coastal Carolina, 168; 4. Wofford, 169; 11. LOUISVILLE, 270
WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
9. (8) Michelle Molodynia, 18:25.44; 45. (44) Leah Kiyohara, 19:16.76; 74. (69) Cassie Martin, 19:45.08; 78. (73) Megan Klein, 19:50.93; 82. (76) Kelsey Cramsey, 19:56.51; (98.) Paige Dooley, 20:11.21