LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s cross country team finished fourth while the women’s team finished seventh at the NCAA Southeast Region Championships at E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer Park on Friday afternoon.
The EKU men entered the meet ranked No. 5 in the region but scored 107 points to upend No. 2 N.C. State and keep hopes alive for an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. It would be the Colonels’ fourth consecutive trip to Terre Haute.
Virginia won the men’s race with 75 points, edging upstart Furman (79) by a mere four points. Virginia and Furman both captured automatic NCAA bids. North Carolina placed third with 87 points.
Eastern defeated such notable teams as N.C. State (5th), Virginia Tech (6th), Louisville (8th), Kentucky (9th) and Wake Forest (10th).
EKU was led by senior Ole Hesselbjerg, who had not been the team’s top runner at any race this season. The steeplechase All-American rose to the occasion in another big race, though, as he finished fifth out of 231 runners with a 10K time of 30:19.0.
Junior Amos Kosgey and sophomore Ambrose Maritim rounded out Eastern’s strong top-three at the meet. Kosgey placed 10th in 30:26.8 while Maritim was 16th in 30:35.8.
Hesselbjerg, Kosgey and Maritim all earned NCAA All-Southeast Region honors following the meet.
Senior Sean Vandermosten finished with a flurry, rising 19 spots from the 3K mark to finish 31st in a time of 31:01.9. Sophomore Luka Ndungu rounded out the Colonels’ top-five with a 45th-place finish in 31:16.8.
Freshmen Jakob Abrahamsen (55th / 31:29.1) and Ronald Korir (81st / 31:56.6) also competed on Friday.
The EKU women’s team was ranked No. 8 in the region but finished seventh on Friday with 230 points. William and Mary won the women’s race with 74 points, followed by Virginia (82), North Carolina (94) and Virginia Tech (97). The Colonels defeated such notables as Wake Forest (9th), Louisville (10th) and Kentucky (12th).
Senior Ann Eason paced the Colonels, finishing 16th out of 257 runners with a 6K time of 20:43.8. In doing so, the Lexington, Ky. native earned NCAA All-Southeast Region honors for the first time in her career.
Fellow senior Una Britton was second on the team and 43rd overall with a time of 21:16.7, followed by sophomore Ann Tum (50th / 21:20.9), junior Julie Mathisen (60th / 21:36.4) and junior Ashley Svec (64th / 21:37.9).
Junior Anna Reddin (65th / 21:38.0) and freshman Ciara Scott (134th / 22:39.2) also competed at the meet.
At-large teams and individuals will be announced in the coming days.
The NCAA Championships will take place at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. on Saturday, Nov. 22.