Aug 30, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville cross country program is quite familiar with Evansville, Ind. For the seventh-consecutive season, the Cardinals open the year at the Mid-America Opener on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Evansville Cross Country Course.
The men’s 6K race is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET, and the women’s 4K event will follow. Along with event-host Evansville, Louisville also will be racing against Indiana State and Oakland City.
“We’re looking forward to being back in action, getting that competitive incentive toward training and knowing we have races coming now,” fourth-year assistant coach Joe Walker said. “I’m excited to get the year started and see where everyone is at this point.”
Louisville has fared well in past years at the event. The Cardinal men secured their fifth title in the last six years, while the women’s team has taken first place four of the last five years.
Last season, Tyler Byrne took first overall - the second-consecutive year he has won the individual title - in the men’s race in leading the team to victory. Now a junior, Michelle Molodynia paced the women’s squad with a runner-up finish, with the team earning its lone victory of the year.
Along with Byrne, this year’s men’s team boasts track and field All-American Mattias Wolter and sophomore Ernest Kibet, who was the team’s top scorer four of the five meets in which he ran. He took first in his collegiate debut and later had a fifth-place showing at the BIG EAST Championships to become the third freshman in program history to earn all-BIG EAST honors with his top-15 finish.
Molodynia, the women’s team’s top returnee, was the top placewinner at each meet in 2012. She also showed significant improvement from her freshman campaign, improving her top 5K time by 30 seconds and her 6K mark by more than 20 seconds.
This year’s squads feature seven newcomers on the men’s side, including four transfers, and nine freshmen on the women’s side along with one transfer. Scott Anderson, one of the transfers on the men’s side, was a two-time NCAA Division II cross country All-American during his time at Edinboro.
“We’ve got some specific plans for how close we want that group to be through a certain portion of the race, and then we’ll let certain athletes finish it off based on how they feel that day,” Walker said. “We’ve got to really learn to work as a group.”
For the latest information on Louisville cross country and track and field, log on to GoCards.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.