The best way to enjoy 10 sports at small colleges

mmaloney@herald-leader.comSeptember 22, 2011 

Both the University of Pikeville and Georgetown College compete in the Mid-South Conference, one of the toughest in NAIA basketball. Pikeville won the 2011 NAIA title, and Georgetown made it to the semifinals.

PABLO ALCALA | STAFF

Most sports-section readers know all about basketball and football at the University of Kentucky, and, to some extent, some of the Wildcats' other athletics programs.

Here's a sample of Central Kentucky collegiate sports that often fly below that radar-of-the-masses:

Basketball. The Mid-South Conference is arguably the NAIA's top men's conference. Pikeville is the reigning NAIA champion. Georgetown, which has made 20 consecutive trips to the national tournament and 30 overall, is coming off a Final Four season and has a new coach. The teams meet Nov. 19 at Pikeville, and Feb. 2 at Georgetown. Women's games, at 6 p.m., will precede the men's contests. For a full schedule, visit Mid-southconference.org

Cross country. Drop in to see a collegiate cross country meet for a look at athletes who run f-a-s-t for a l-o-n-g time. Scores are calculated by adding up the finishing places of each team's top five runners. A perfect team score is 15 — 1+2+3+4+5=15. Three major meets will be held at Louisville's E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park — the Greater Louisville Classic, Oct. 1, featuring nearly every collegiate team in the state; the Big East Conference Championship, Oct. 29; and the NCAA Southeast Regional, Nov. 12.

Equestrian. What's a weekend in Kentucky without horses? Take in a Hunt Seat show. Midway College's schedule runs October through May. Visit: Midway.edu.

Field hockey. Centre's women have many upcoming home matches. Visit: Centre.edu/web/athletics. Goalkeepers Patty Cowley and Cece Lindsey combined to give Centre the best save percentage (88.2) in NCAA Division III last season.

Football. Kentucky State takes its Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game against Albany State to Lucas Oil Field, home of the Indianapolis Colts, as part of the Circle City Classic on Oct. 1. The game is a collaboration between the Indiana Black Expo and Indiana Sports Corp. Proceeds help fund scholarships and youth initiatives for each organization. For information about other KSU games, visit: Ksuthorobreds.com.

Hockey. Yes, this is a UK team, but it makes this list as representative of the many club teams in the area. The Cool Cats play weekends, September through February. Visit: Ukhockey.com. Games begin at midnight at the Lexington Ice Center. Be forewarned that a midnight crowd can get a bit, uh, rowdy.

Soccer: "The beautiful game" can be found on most college campuses. Try a Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match. Visit: Kiacsports.com.

Swimming and diving. Seating is close enough that you may get wet watching the action in Transylvania University's William T. Young Campus Center pool. The Pioneers' schedule goes from October through February. Transy's men and women play host to nearby NCAA Division III rival Centre at 1 p.m. Nov. 5. Visit: Transysports.com.

Volleyball. Intrastate and Ohio Valley Conference rivals meet Nov. 1 and 4 at Eastern Kentucky University. Morehead State comes to Richmond first, followed by Murray State. Visit: Ovcsports.com.

Wrestling. Competing with basketball for headlines, the collegiate wrestling season runs October through March. Kentucky boasts three of the top 21 teams from last season's NAIA Championships — No. 7 Campbellsville, No. 15 Lindsey Wilson and No. 21 Cumberlands.

More Central Kentucky bucket lists:

Reach Mark Maloney at (859) 231-3229.

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