Highlighted by Jenna Gearing’s second-place individual finish, the Kentucky cross country women’s team finished fourth and the UK men fifth at the Southeastern Conference Championships held Friday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Gearing covered the 6,000-meter University Club course in 19:58. Running her typical race, she was in sixth place with 1,000 meters remaining, when her strong finishing kick carried her to the silver medalist position among the field of 128 runners. She received first-team All-SEC honors for that performance.
“Jenna ran like she ran all year,” said Hakon DeVries, UK assistant track and field coach, who oversees the Wildcat distance runners. “She got in the front pack at the beginning of the race, then closed really well.
“She’s been a shining star for us all year, a leader on the course and off. She had her best day at the championship. She’s a confident runner who belongs up there.”
“We talked about a game plan,” Gearing said of her pre-race conversation with DeVries. “With 500 (meters) to go, you just have to move, so that’s what we did. I tried to kick and finish strong.”
Today’s races marked the end of the fall schedule. Teams can resume competition in January, as the NCAA Championship events have been moved to 2021. Tentatively, the regular season continues from January 30 through March 5, with NCAA selections set for March 6 and the national championships slated for March 15.
Women’s Team Report
Kentucky’s fourth-place team showing was the best in seven years, when the Wildcats finished third in 2013.
“The women had an awesome day, I’m proud of how they did,” DeVries said. “They really competed tough, ran a great race from top to bottom with a lot of personal records.”
Gearing, a graduate transfer from Clemson, capped an outstanding fall campaign. She finished in the top five in all four meets, including a win at the “Live in Lou” Classic on October 3.
Gearing was followed on the scoring board by freshman Tori Herman in 19th, Kaylie Kenne in 20th, Kaitlyn Lacy at No. 30 and Sophie Carrier at No. 35. Herman earned Freshman All-SEC honors, as did Jenna Schwinghamer, whose No. 48 finish placed among the top seven first-year runners who received the Freshman All-SEC accolade.
Arkansas won its eighth-straight team title and Mercy Chelangat of Alabama was the individual champion at a time of 19:46.5.
Men’s Team Report
A trio of freshmen led the Kentucky men, Matt Duvall (15th overall), Ethan Kern (18th) and Harper Moore (25th). All three received Freshman All-SEC honors for placing in the top-seven freshmen in the race. UK’s additional scorers were junior Dylan Allen in 35th and freshman Jake Allen in 46th. The men’s race was 8k distance.
“We had the opportunity to finish a little higher but they ran as hard as they could and that’s all you can ask,” said DeVries, whose Cats were 12 points away from a third-place finish. “Four of our top five scorers were freshmen, so that bodes well for the future.”
Arkansas won its second-straight team title and Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss claimed the individual championship at a clocking of 23:32.9.
Women’s team results
Women’s Individual Results (UK only, 6,000 meters)
2. Jenna Gearing, 19:58.0
19. Tori Herman, 20:42.7
20. Kaylie Kenne, 20:43.4
30. Kaitlyn Lacy, 21:05.3
35. Sophie Carrier, 21:15.0
39. Rachel Boice, 21:18.9
44. Perri Bockrath, 21:27.3
48. Jenna Schwinghamer, 21:29.6
57. Athena Young, 21:39.0
65. Madisyn Peeples, 21:49.4
Men’s Team Results
Men’s Individual Results (UK only, 8,000 meters)
15. Matt Duvall, 24:27.1
18. Ethan Kern, 24:32.8
25. Harper Moore, 24:44.9
35. Dylan Allen, 25:02.4
46. Jake Allen, 25:11.5
55. Aaron Withrow, 25:24.3
62. Trevor Warren, 25:31.2
76. Patrick Schaefer, 25:46.0
82. Jonah Mitchell, 26:01.2
89. McLean Griffin, 26:18.1
‑ GO CATS –
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|Tony Neely, Assistant ADAthletics Communications and Public Relations|