Cross Country

Women’s Team, Tori Herman Finish Third at NCAA XC Southeast Regional

by Sommer Thomas

ANCHORAGE, Ky. — The University of Kentucky women’s cross country team placed third t the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships as host school on Friday at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park. 

Sophomore Tori Herman finished third overall in the women’s 6K, earning an automatic bid to compete as an individual at the NCAA Championships in Tallahassee on Saturday, Nov. 20. The top four individuals who are not members of the top two-finishing teams automatically qualify for NCAAs. 

The women’s team finished third with 103 points while the men’s team finished ninth with a score of 246. The women were ranked third in the region coming into the meet. 

The top two men’s teams and top two women’s teams at each NCAA regional meet automatically qualify for NCAA Championships. The NCAA Cross Country Selection Committee will announce the remaining 13 NCAA Championships team spots to teams of their choosing that did not automatically qualify on Saturday at 5 p.m. As the third-place team at the meet, the Kentucky women are still in the running to be chosen to compete at NCAA Championships.  

Men’s Finishers: 

Ethan Kern—30:08.0, 29th 

Matt Duvall—30:29.6, 39th 

Jackson Watts—30:51.9, 57th 

Aaron Withrow—30:51.9, 58th 

Dylan Allen—31:03.9, 68th 

Harper Moore – 31:14.5, 80th 

Jake Allen – 31:52.1, 108th 

Women’s Finishers: 

Tori Herman—20:09.4, 3rd 

Perri Bockrath—20:21.1, 9th 

Jenna Gearing—20:27.3, 11th 

Kaitlyn Lacy—21:05.3, 31st 

Kaylie Kenne—21:28.7, 51st 

Rachel Boice – 21:39.8, 57th 

Sophie Carrier – 22:07.7, 78th 

Tale of the Competition 

The women’s team had an impressive meet with the best team finish in place and points since 2016. Herman led the Cats with a career-best meet performance, running her fastest ever 6K in 20:09.40, which is a near four-second improvement on her SEC Championship time over a different course.  

Perri Bockrath had a great morning, finishing ninth with a PB 20:21.10. She narrowly missed the individual qualifying standard for NCAA Championships as the fifth individual finisher not a member of the two automatically-qualified teams. Bockrath improved by 61 places and ran over one minute faster than her performance at last year’s southeast regional in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Jenna Gearing finished just behind her in 11th place (20:27.30), running her fastest time of the season. 

As three of the top 25 finishers, Herman, Bockrath and Gearing earned the All-Region honor from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. 

On the men’s side, Ethan Kern led the Cats with a 29th-place finish (30:08.00). Matt Duvall followed him in 39th (30:29.60). 

Freshman Jackson Watts earned his highest finish in an elite competition this season, finishing as the third-fastest Wildcat in 57th (30:51.8), showing some of the form that helped him earn SEC Freshman of the Week in October. 

The young UK Cross Country men’s team is mostly made up of underclassmen and will return all seven of the runners that competed at this year’s Southeast Regionals. 

Next Up 

Saturday’s NCAA Championships selection decision will determine if any Wildcats will join Herman next weekend in Tallahassee, Florida. The full NCAA Championships field will be publicized Saturday at 5 p.m. on NCAA.com. 

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