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UK men's cross country finishes fourth at SEC tourney; Orta named all-conference

Paced by a fifth-place finish from Luis Orta in the Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships, the University of Kentucky men’s cross country team finished fourth Monday, earning its highest finish at the conference meet since coming in third in 1992.


Orta, who ran the 8,000-meter race at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tenn., in 24:28.36, has finished in the top 10 overall in all five of Kentucky’s races this season, including wins in each of Kentucky’s first two races. By finishing fifth Monday, Orta is the first Kentucky cross country runner to earn first team All-SEC honors since Thomas Morgan won the SEC Championships meet in 2003.


Following Orta were sophomores Stacey Eden (25:02.65) and Adam Kahleifeh (25:03.26), who finished in 22nd and 23rd, respectively. Eden and Kahleifeh, with one more year of experience under their belts, improved tremendously from last season, with each runner bettering their 2010 conference time by over a minute.


“I was really pleased with the men’s race,” UK head coach Don Weber said. “Luis ran well and Adam Kahleifeh had his best cross country race ever. Stacey is continuing to improve. His fitness has improved, he just needs to be a little more daring and not be as conservative in the early stages of the race.”


Senior Walter Luttrell finished in 35th (25:24.00), and fellow senior Josh Nadzam (25:39.42) rounded out the team’s top five with a 45th-place finish overall. Freshman Mackay Wilson finished in 63rd (26:14.62).


The women’s squad was led by junior Chelsea Oswald who finished in 23rd with a time of 21:27.86 on the 6K course. The time was Oswald’s fastest time in the conference championship meet. As a team, Kentucky finished in eighth.


“Our women didn’t do as well as we were hoping today,” Weber said. “We’re running a little banged up, but we’ll get that resolved in the coming weeks and get back on track.”


Sophomores Anna Bostrom (22:02.55) and Taylor Wendler (22:03.82) finished in 42nd and 44th, respectively. Fellow sophomore Allison Peare (22:22.40) finished in 56th. Senior Megan Broderick (22:45.19), running in her first-ever SEC Championships meet after a stellar four-year tennis career, finished in 64th. Junior Megan Wright (23:07.74) finished in 76th.


Orta and the Wildcats raced at Lambert Acres Golf Club earlier in the year, with both the men’s and women’s teams defeating Tennessee in the Tennessee Invitational dual meet, and Orta taking home first-place honors. Orta improved upon his time of 25:07.34 in that race by 38.98 seconds on Monday.


Arkansas won the men’s meet for the 19th time in the last 21 years. Eric Fernandez of Arkansas won the men’s meet with a time of 24:10.60. Vanderbilt won the women’s meet, placing all five runners in the top 10. Individually, Kristen Gillespie of Arkansas won the women’s meet with a time of 20:19.84.


From UK Athletics.

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