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Cats 8th in Louisville cross country meet

Kentucky's Cally Macumber ran with the leaders during the gold division race at Saturday's Greater Louisville Classic cross country meet. Macumber finished second to Arizona's Elvin Kibet. Kibet covered the 5,000 meters in 16 minutes, 51.71 seconds. Macumber's time was 16:55.14. (Photo by Mark Maloney)
Kentucky's Cally Macumber ran with the leaders during the gold division race at Saturday's Greater Louisville Classic cross country meet. Macumber finished second to Arizona's Elvin Kibet. Kibet covered the 5,000 meters in 16 minutes, 51.71 seconds. Macumber's time was 16:55.14. (Photo by Mark Maloney)

LOUISVILLE — The 11th Greater Louisville Classic — the largest collegiate cross country meet in the nation — belonged to the Wildcats.

Yes, Kentucky's Wildcats did well Saturday at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.

But, actually, Arizona's Wildcats stole the day.

Arizona's 12th-ranked women, led by individual winner Elvin Kibet, knocked off No. 1 Washington 71-80 in the Gold (premier) Division.

No. 8 Iona rolled to men's Gold honors with 47 points, followed by No. 28 Columbia with 110. But it was Arizona's Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu taking 1-2 in the individual race.

Kibet, a junior from Kenya, followed her plan to run with the leaders for two miles, then push "and see who goes with me. And, pretty much, nobody came with me."

Kibet completed 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) in 16 minutes, 51.71 seconds.

Kentucky's Cally Macumber closed with a rush to place second in 16:55.14, nudging past Washington's Katie Flood (16:55.67).

"I just wanted to go and try to hang with the leaders," said Macumber, a junior. "I just tried to stay positive and I felt good."

Macumber and seventh-place finisher Chelsea Oswald helped UK to the top finish by a non-ranked team, scoring 252 points for eighth place. Finishing 3-7 in the team standings were No. 14 Michigan State, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 17 Penn State, No. 8 Vanderbilt and No. 29 Wisconsin.

Mississippi, in 11th, was led by fifth-year senior Katie Breathitt in eighth place. Twin sister Kelsey placed 101st.

The Breathitts were standout soccer players for Lexington Catholic. Knee injuries — torn ACLs suffered by Katie as a high school senior and by Kelsey as an Ole Miss junior — led to a change of sports.

When Katie ran a strong 3,000 meters as part of a soccer fitness test, she was encouraged to try track.

"They're a lot different (sports) but I like this," she said. "This is suited more for me."

A year later, Kelsey switched.

"I came back (from injury) and soccer wasn't really the same for me," Kelsey said. "And, honestly, Katie, with what she could do in track, I thought, 'Why don't I give it a try?' "

Eastern Kentucky, 17th in the team standings, was led by Ann Eason. The sophomore from Sayre placed 50th in a personal-best 17:37.26.

Louisville, 31st, was led by Michelle Molodynia in 111th.

The men's 8,000-meter race was pure dominance by Arizona's two Kenyans.

Lalang's time of 22:33.57 — nearly three seconds ahead of Sambu — lopped more than half a minute off 5-year-old records for the course (23:08.9 by Villanova's Bobby Curtis) and meet (23:09.0 by Eastern Kentucky's Jacob Korir).

Lalang, from Kibet's hometown of Eldoret, said the win gives him confidence for this year's NCAA Championships, to be run on the same course.

"Because I know everything right now," he said. "I know how the hills are, how the flats are, the slopes. ... It gives me a lot of confidence coming back."

Louisville placed sixth in the team standings.

"Not where we want to be. We definitely feel like we didn't get to show where we are as a group," U of L Coach Joe Walker said. "We've got to get better. So it's a good wake-up call for us to get some things corrected as we move forward."

The Cardinals' Japhet Kipkoech and Ernest Kibet — freshmen from Eldoret — ran 8-9, just ahead of Western Kentucky's Joseph Chebet, a Ugandan. UK's Luis Orta, from Venezuela, took 12th.

"I tried to hang in there. I felt good," said Orta, who clocked 24:06.96. "I wanted to run faster than that. I wanted to break 24. ... So not completely happy with the time, but it was a good race overall and we still have a long way to go in the season to run faster and better."

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