Despite freezing temperatures at Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville for the NCAA Southeast Regionals on Friday, junior Katie Lever turned in a 21st-place finish and the women’s and men’s cross country teams finished their seasons with 20th and 22nd-place finishes, respectively.
A total of five Lady Toppers set personal bests to pace their impressive performance. Senior David Mokone ended his storied career with a 112th-place finish to lead the men’s team.
“It was a learning experience for the team going out and racing teams that are of national caliber and being able to race in that very condition,” Head Coach Eric Jenkins said. “It was the coldest meet we ran in all year. At this part of the year, the work’s been done, you just have to go out and race.”
Lever posted a time of 20:51.76, breaking her previous record by 35 seconds. Her time was the second-best among women runners from Kentucky.
“Running is all about doing the little things well and doing them consistently, but you have to have that drive to continue to make sacrifices for what you need to do well,” Lever said.
Lady Topper juniors Taylor Carlin and Baylee Shofner and senior Jodi Miller all came in the top-5, recording personal bests of 22:22.03, 22:51.43 and 23:00.13, respectively. Freshman Savannah Ames rounded out the top-5 for the Lady Toppers with a personal best time of 23:19.87.
Mokone, last season’s 2013 Sun Belt Conference Most Outstanding Performer, ran a 10k time of 32:30.0 for the Hilltoppers.
Junior Aaron Stevens followed closely behind with a time of 32:46.5, while sophomore Peter Agaba, freshman Endalow Takele and senior Sean Hurd rounded out the top-5 for the men with times of 32:48.2, 33:05.4 and 33:33.0.
Although the Lady Toppers nearly qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, neither team had high enough points, thus concluding the 2014 cross country season.
“Overall, it was a good season and obviously we want to do better,” Jenkins said. “We’re looking forward to indoor track in December.”