Cross country begins with Belmont Opener in Nashville

By Kevin Erpenbeck

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As the fall semester rolls around, UK men’s and women’s cross country head down to Nashville on Friday to participate in the Belmont Opener.

Both teams will race at Percy Warner Park, where the 2012 SEC Championships were held.

The men’s team will be comprised mostly of new faces, with 14 new athletes on the team this season.

Senior Matt Hillenbrand will attempt to improve on his finish from last season, when he placed sixth at the Belmont Opener.

The women’s team will feature five newcomers this season. They are also welcoming back three senior returning All-Southeast Region selections: Anna Bostrom, Cally Macumber, and Allison Peare.

Macumber, much like Hillenbrand, is also looking to build off of last season, as she won the SEC Championship in Warner Park and NCAA Southeast Regional, placing sixth at the NCAA Championships 6k with a school record time.

Macumber was also presented with the SEC Cross Country Runner of the Year award. She was the first UK woman to win the award. Macumber has had recent success at the Belmont Opener as well, winning the event last season.

Bostrom, who has never finished under fifth place at a meet for the Cats, will also be looking for a strong outing this season at the Belmont Opener. She placed 11th overall at the Belmont Opener 5k last season with a time of 15:05.40.

Peare has enjoyed her own success, as she was the first Kentucky woman to cross the finish line in five of the team’s six meets in the 2011-12 season. She also placed 11th overall in a team-best time of 14:34.25 over 4,000 meters at the Belmont-Vanderbilt XC Opener.

Second-year head coach Edrick Floreal will look to improve this year’s respective teams’ standings from last year, where the men finished sixth at the conference championships, and the women finished fifth.

This season, both the men’s and women’s team were picked to finish seventh in the SEC. UK will have five regular season meets in 2013, including the program’s first home meet in more than a


The 2013 Belmont Opener will have eight teams on the women’s side, and nine teams on the men’s side, facing off against one another.

The men’s meet will begin at 6:30 p.m ET, while the women will race at 7:00 p.m. ET.