Sept. 29, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Two weeks ago, the Cardinals' last competition, true freshman and Kenyan native Ernest Kibet made his collegiate debut and led the University of Louisville men's cross country team to a first-place finish.
On Saturday, against a heavily stacked field that featured two-top 10 teams and a pair of NCAA cross country runners-up, Kibet and freshman Japhet Kipkoech, who made his collegiate debut, guided the Cardinal men to a sixth-place finish at the Greater Louisville Classic at E.P. `Tom' Sawyer State Park.
Kipkoech, who placed eighth, clocked an 8K time of 24:02.32 for the fastest time at that distance on the men's side this season. The Kenyan native jumped out to a strong start in a field that consisted of 255 runners and maintained a steady pace for the top-10 finish.
"That was his first exposure to a race in a long time and a race in the U.S.," assistant coach Joe Walker said of Kipkoech. "To get into that environment and just respond the way he did, that was a positive. I think he's capable of being fourth in that race, and he was just a little bit back of that. It was good to see him competing and moving in the right direction."
Kibet continued his momentum from last race, finishing one spot behind in ninth with a time of 24:03.59. He shaved 10 seconds off his season-opening time, his only other 8K mark this year, to give the Cardinal men their first pair of top-10 scorers since the 2009 meet, when Matt Bruce (No. 5), Cory Thorne (No. 6) and Michal Eaton (No. 8) led Louisville to the team title.
Louisville also received strong performances from Gordon Dooley, who finished 46th (45 in scoring), and Mattias Wolter, who placed 54th (52 in scoring). Freshman Edwin Kibichiy made his collegiate debut and rounded out the Cardinals' scoring runners by placing 95th (88 in scoring).
Arizona had the top two finishers on the men's side, as Lawi Lalang, won the race and set the course record, and Stephen Sambu earned runner-up honors.
"We didn't finish quite where we wanted to be," assistant coach Joe Walker said. "We had 1-2 guys that really had solid days, up in the top 10, but we needed 3-4. There were a couple of guys back of where they need to be. It was good to see us up front with two guys, but just an unbelievable individual performance at the front. It was probably one of the best collegiate races I've seen in a long time from the two Arizona guys."
On the women's side, Michelle Molodynia was the Cardinals' top finisher, clocking a 5K time of 18:05.02 to take 111th (No. 106 scoring). Louisville's next scoring runner was Megan Klein, who crossed the finish line in 228th - No. 189 in scoring - as she completed the course in 19:29.15.
"The women, we have a lot of work to do," Walker added. "It's evident that we're not where we need to be and, as a staff, we know that and we'll address that and work to be better."
Paige Dooley (No. 242; 198), Leah Kiyohara (No. 243; 199) and Kelsey Cramsey (No. 249; 202) rounded out the Cardinals' top five scoring runners.
After a week off, Louisville returns to action on Oct. 13 for the NCAA Division Pre-National Meet at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park. The first race of the day, the men's 8K, is set for 9:30 a.m. ET.
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. Iona, 47; 2. Columbia, 110; 3. Georgia, 143; 4. Missouri, 152; 5. Texas, 166; 6. LOUISVILLE, 202
MEN'S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
8. Japhet Kipkoech, 24:02.32; 9. Ernest Kibet, 24:03.59; 46. (45) Gordon Dooley, 24:40.48; 54. (52) Mattias Wolter, 24:45.78; 95. (88) Edwin Kibichiy, 25:13.73; 107. (97) Ryan Eaton, 25:21.41; 133. (120) Evan Hibbs, 25:33.54
WOMEN'S TEAM RESULTS
1. Arizona, 71; 2. Washington, 80; t-3. Michigan State, 135; t-3. Arkansas, 135; 5. Penn State, 161; LOUISVILLE, 894
WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
111. (106) Michelle Molodynia, 18:05.02; 228. (189) Megan Klein, 19:29.15; 242. (198) Paige Dooley, 19:48.00; 243. (199) Leah Kiyohara, 19:48.23; 249. (202) Kelsey Cramsey, 20:00.81; 256. (207) Cassie Martin, 20:26.17; 261. (210) Maria Frigo, 20:56.87