HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The Kentucky cross country program will begin the UK Track & Field and Cross Country Head Coach Lonnie Greene era Saturday at the Northern Kentucky Queen City Invitational.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will be running 5,000-meter races. The men’s race is slated for a 9 a.m. ET start, followed by the women’s race starting at 9:30 a.m.
Men’s team outlook
The Kentucky men’s team enters the 2018 season ranked No. 9 in the Southeast Region, which is made up of every Division I team in the states of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
The UK men’s team finished eight at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships a season ago.
Kentucky has been predicted to finish fifth at the SEC Championships, to be held at Auburn in October, by conference coaches.
The Kentucky men’s squad for Saturday returns five Wildcats – Cole Dowdy, Tanner Dowdy, Brennan Fields, Kendall Muhammad and Matthew Thomas – from its 2017 season, which placed fourth at the Southeastern Conference Championships.
Fields and Thomas were UK’s fourth and fifth finishers respectively at the SEC Championships a year ago.
Assistant coach Hakon DeVries will handle training and strategy for a seventh-consecutive season working with UK’s cross country and distance runners.
Women’s team outlook
The UK women’s team has been ranked No. 13 in the Southeast Region to begin the 2018 campaign.
The Wildcats finished sixth at SECs a year ago, and then 11th at Southeast Regionals two weeks later with now-graduated senior Katy Kunc having advanced to the NCAA Championships finals site where she finished 41st.
The UK women’s squad for Saturday returns a pair of Wildcats from a year earlier – Madisyn Peeples and Caitlin Shepard. Eight freshman will make their debut in UK colors on Saturday.
Shepard was UK’s No. 5 finisher at SECs last season.
League coaches picked the Wildcats to finish 11th at SECs in a preseason poll.