Oct. 12, 2012
MADISON, Wisc. - Running amidst the largest fields in the NCAA all season, the Husky cross country teams held steady, both turning in productive days. The third-ranked women's team was unable to repeat as Wisconsin adidas Invitational champions, but still defeated 15 teams ranked in the top-30 in a fourth-place finish. The men's group finished ahead of three ranked squads and tied a fourth in a positive outing.
Both races played out much faster than a year ago despite fields that featured more than 40 Division-I teams in each race and over 300 runners at the Zimmer Championships Course.
The Husky women had a strong pack with just 31 seconds separating their one through five scorers. Junior Katie Flood was at the front of that group, despite not having one of her best days on the course, as she placed 29th in 20:12 for 6,000-meters. Junior Justine Johnson was close behind in 35th-place, followed by senior Lindsay Flanagan in 41st, junior Liberty Miller in 67th, and senior Kayla Evans capped the scoring in 80th-place in 20:43. Freshman Maddie Meyers also placed 114th and sophomore Joelle Amaral was 244th.
Fifth-ranked Iowa State earned the win with 109 points, followed by No. 7 Stanford with 181 and No. 2 Arizona with 242, then the Huskies right behind the Wildcats in fourth with 252. Washington finished ahead of the likes of No. 9 Cornell, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 12 Vanderbilt, No. 13 Weber State, No. 14 Penn State, and ten more ranked squads.
"The women's race was very different from a year ago," said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. "All of our women ran faster a year ago but we weren't up quite as far as we'd like to be. We end up finishing fourth, so it was a solid performance, but collectively we were a little flat."
In the men's 8,000-meter race, seniors Joey Bywater and Rob Webster Jr. led the way. Bywater led the Dawgs for the third time already this season, finishing 42nd overall in 23:58. Webster had one Metcalf called possibly his best regular season cross country race, finishing 67th in 24:07.
Sophomore Aaron Beattie finished 100th overall in 24:17. The Dawgs were in the top-20 as a team late but lost some ground over the last mile. Sophomore Aaron Nelson came in 154th and redshirt freshman Tyler King rounded out the scoring in 179th-place in 24:37. Taylor Carlson was 204th and Bryan Tibaduiza was 268th to finish the top-seven.
Overall the Huskies finished 22nd out of 45 teams, a big improvement over the same race a year ago where UW was 31st out of 39 teams. Washington tied 16th-ranked Minnesota with 542 points, and placed ahead of No. 13 Notre Dame, No. 29 Virginia, and No. 30 Missouri. The Huskies were also ahead of Cal Poly, which was ranked sixth in the West Region ahead of UW, as well as beating out Pac-12 foes Arizona and California.
"The men, it was close to being really good," said Metcalf. "Joey and Robby had solid days. Aaron was patient and built. Tyler and Aaron are both youngsters and they were out well but have to close the door. Taylor Carlson was a minute faster than he was a year ago. It was a more complete team effort and last year we did not run tough in this race and I think we were tougher today."
The Huskies will now set their sights on the Pac-12 Championships, hosted by UCLA in Santa Clarita, Calif. at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course. The championships are set for Saturday, Oct. 27, starting at 9:40 a.m.