Oct. 16, 2011
Men's Individual/Team Results (PDF) | Women's Individual/Team Results (PDF)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Behind strong performances from the team's top-five scoring runners, the University of Louisville men's cross country team registered a seventh-place finish at the Indiana State Pre-Nationals Meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind., on Sunday afternoon. The women finished in 33rd.
The seventh-place finish - in a pack of 35 teams - is the men's team's best mark at this meet since the 2006 season, when the team placed seventh as well. The Louisville men finished ahead of Indiana (No. 8 in team standings), which entered the meet ranked seventh nationally in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's poll, and Virginia Tech (No. 9 in team standings), which was receiving votes in the national poll and checked in regionally ahead of Louisville at No. 4.
"I felt like the guys really responded to the mandate that we have to run as a group more effectively," assistant coach Joe Walker said. "They did a great job. I probably credit Matt Bruce on getting guys flowing through the middle. (Matt) Hughes and (Tyler) Byrne were anticipating working together up front and they did a good job working as a group but weren't quite where they needed to be - about 15 spots up from where they were."
After the men's team's performance at the Greater Louisville Classic, in which spots one and five were separated by 1:11, the group's top five scoring runners today were only split up by 31 seconds.
Redshirt senior Matt Hughes made his season debut Sunday morning in the men's 8K and registered a 34th-place finish in 24:53. An Oshawa, Ontario, native, he averaged 3:07/K to lead the squad. Sophomore Tyler Byrne, who has been the team's top placewinner through the first three races, finished the course four seconds later in 24:57 to take 37th overall. Redshirt senior Matt Bruce rounded out the team's top-three scorers, as he finished 42nd overall, completing the race in 25:05. Senior Luke Lovelace and redshirt junior Gordon Dooley rounded out the final five, with Lovelace recording a 51st-place showing and Dooley taking 69th overall (68 in scoring).
"It's probably not quite where he anticipated being, but it's his first race back, and he was fighting through that initial shock," Walker said of Hughes' return. "Cross country just doesn't feel good. You're never comfortable. We had strong winds today and really thick grass. The course didn't run fast, but I think that'll pay off for him when he's really fit and ready in the next 2-4 weeks."
Freshman Madie Davidson led the women's team, taking 125th overall, 116th in scoring. She navigated the 6,000-meter course in 22:55, finishing among a five-person group that was separated by one second.
"She gave a steady effort, but wasn't at the top of her game," Walker said of Davidson. "She knew that, and I think she's a fighter. She'll respond, and she'll certainly bounce back. It's a huge deal for her to experience running when it's 8-10 (people) wide, where the BIG EAST Championships will be 3-4 wide, and she'll be more aware of where she's at."
Freshman Michelle Molodynia (163rd ) and juniors Ariel Briggs (201 ), Cassie Martin (204 ) and Kacey Cox (280 ) also contributed in the women's team's total.
"We threw them into the fire today, so they could see what it's all about," Walker added. "We've got to raise those expectations. We have a standard they have to shoot for, and that allows them to see what it will take to get to the next level, and that's where we have to go. The race allowed them to get a little taste of what it's all about."
The women were racing among a 37-team field that featured 10 squads either ranked or receiving votes in the USTFCCCA top-30 poll.
Louisville returns to action on Oct. 29 at its home course - E.P. `Tom' Sawyer State Park - for the BIG EAST Cross Country Championships.
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/louisvilletrack.
MEN'S TEAM RESULTS
1. Colorado, 82; 2. Portland, 104; 3. Iona, 109; 4. Eastern Kentucky, 186; 5. Florida State, 186; 7. LOUISVILLE, 232
MEN'S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
34. Matt Hughes, 24:53; 37. Tyler Byrne, 24:57; 42. Matt Bruce, 25:05; 51. Luke Lovelace, 25:11; 69. (68) Gordon Dooley, 25:24; 96. (94) Mattias Wolter, 25:42; 197. (182) Evan Hibbs, 26:45
WOMEN'S TEAM RESULTS
1. Florida State, 46; 2. Georgetown, 99; 3. Michigan, 158; 4. Colorado, 160; 5. Cornell, 161; 33. LOUISVILLE, 875
WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
125. (116) Madie Davidson, 22:55; 163. (151) Michelle Molodynia, 23:24; 201. (183) Ariel Briggs, 23:47; 204. (185) Cassie Martin, 23:51; 280. (240) Kacey Cox, 25:13; 287. (243) Paige Dooley, 25:35