Nashville, Tenn. - The WKU men's and women's cross country teams both finished fifth in the team standings at Friday's Belmont Opener.
The Hilltoppers were led by Joseph Chebet's runner-up finish, as the senior was narrowly defeated by Kentucky's Luis Orta in the final stretch. Chebet clocked a 15:18.70 second time in the 5,000 meter race at Percy Warner Park, just two seconds off the winning pace.
"I think we did really good today," said Hurd. "We're easing into it but I feel like we had a strong showing."
WKU's 124 team points ranked fifth behind Tennessee (50), Kentucky (74), Belmont (86) and Kennesaw State (113). Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt and Lipscomb finished behind the Hilltoppers. Head coach Erik Jenkins said he saw some positive things on the course but at the same time he's looking for improvement.
"I think they were happy to be in a racing environment but we have a lot of work to do," said Jenkins.
Freshman Lindsey Hinken was the top Lady Topper finisher, crossing the line 22nd with a 15:32.6 clocking in the 4,000 meter race. Jenkins was pleased with his rookie's debut meet.
"She went out and ran hard," said Jenkins. "For her to come out and run well as a freshman in her first meet, it's encouraging. We expect her to stay humble and keep working."
Junior Kim Dominguez was the second-best finisher for the Lady Toppers, coming in at 26th place. Senior Vasity Chemweno, running in her first competition since last November, captured 28th place.
The women's team finished fifth behind Vanderbilt (33), Kentucky (34), Belmont (82) and Tennessee (93). Kennesaw State, Lipscomb and Middle Tennessee State finished behind the Lady Toppers. Jenkins said he liked the competitiveness of his women's squad but the youngsters have to grow up fast.
"We're young but the youth is over with now," said Jenkins. "No one is a freshman anymore. They're WKU Hilltopper runners."
22. Lindsey Hinken 15:32.60
26. Kim Dominguez
28. Vasity Chemweno
31. Taylor Carlin
33. Brianne Porter
34. Anna Reddin
40. Katie Lever
50. Baylee Shofner
54. Sydney Settle
61. Megan Hale
65. Kalyn Bowers
67. Courtney Waterbury
68. Madison Hale
70. Melissa Hurd