Nov. 17, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The fall cross country season ran to a conclusion in Kentucky today, as the Husky women's team earned a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, while senior Joey Bywater represented the UW men with a 69th-place individual finish. Junior Megan Goethals led the way for the UW women with a 48th-place finish at E.P. `Tom' Sawyer State Park.
Washington came into the race ranked seventh, but as any cross country enthusiast knows, anything can and frequently does happen at the NCAA finals. But the Pac-12 conference lived up to its reputation, and the Huskies came up a little short of catching the three conference teams that had edged them at Pac-12s and Regionals. Second-ranked Oregon won the NCAA title with 114 points.
Eighth-ranked Providence jumped up to take second with 183, Stanford was third (198), No. 1-ranked Florida State was fourth with 202, and Michigan was fifth with 247. Arizona took sixth (263), Duke placed seventh (300), UConn was eighth (304), followed by the Huskies with 334 points and New Mexico rounded out the top-10 with 341 points. Notably, third-ranked Iowa State came in 11th-place, and last year's champion Georgetown was 12th with 381. Thirty-one teams qualified for the championships.
The ninth-place finish equals the finish of the 1998 Husky squad, tying for the fifth-best finish in program history. It's the fifth top-10 finish by the Huskies in the last six years, and the sixth top-10 finish for the Huskies under Head Coach Greg Metcalf.
Metcalf summed up a day that was solid but short of the spectacular that the Huskies were hoping for. "We just didn't go to the national championships and have a great day. Last year we were aggressive and ran great," said Metcalf. "We just didn't get out and get involved in the real race up front. The mood of our group, collectively, they just wanted a little more."
But another top-10 finish was certainly another great achievement for the program as a whole. "To be in the top-10 in any year is not a bad thing," said Metcalf.
Washington did not have the frontrunners of recent years, but made up for it by having their top-five all make it around the 6,000-meter course in tighter fashion than most. Goethals was out front for the Dawgs, capping an impressive season comeback from an early season stress fracture which made her miss the first half of the season. She finished 48th overall in a time of 20-minutes, 21-seconds.
Senior Lindsay Flanagan closed out her Husky cross country career with her best ever finish at NCAAs, as she placed 74th in 20:36. Her previous best was a 92nd-place finish a year ago.
Next up, juniors Justine Johnson and Katie Flood finished side by side in identical times. They were listed in a tie for 89th-place in 20:43. The scoring was completed by junior Liberty Miller, who crossed 152nd overall in 21:07. Freshman Maddie Meyers in her NCAA debut placed 187th out of the 250+ athletes, while senior Kayla Evans was 203rd in her first nationals run since 2009.
Bywater was aiming for a top-40 finish which would mean an All-America honor, and he took an early shot. The fifth-year senior was hovering around the top-50 about halfway through the race, but lost a little ground over the late stretch, finishing 69th overall. Still, the result showed how far he's come since his last run at NCAAs, when he was 226th overall as a redshirt freshman.
"Joey ran pretty well today and he stuck his nose in it," said Metcalf. "He had a great cross country season and the exciting thing about this is how his fall has progressed and he's really fired up for what's to come on the track. He represented our men very well today as he always has throughout his career."
With the fall wrapping up, the Huskies will head indoors for the always exciting Dempsey Indoor track season, starting in January.
Washington Cross Country
2012 NCAA Championships
Louisville, Ky. - Hosted by University of Louisville
E.P. `Tom' Sawyer State Park
Women's Results (6,000-meters)
Team Standings (Top-20):
1. Oregon 114; 2. Providence 183; 3. Stanford 198; 4. Florida State 202; 5. Michigan 247; 6. Arizona 263; 7. Duke 300; 8. Connecticut 304; 9. Washington 334; 10. New Mexico 341; 11. Iowa State 350; 12. Georgetown 381; 13. Cornell 385; 14. Penn State 387; 15. Notre Dame 394; 16. Michigan State 422; 17. Weber State 428; 18. Arkansas 449; 19. Boston College 462; 20. Villanova 475.
Individual Champion: Betsy Saina, Iowa State, 19:27.
Husky Finishers: 48. Megan Goethals 20:21; 74. Lindsay Flanagan 20:36; 89. Katie Flood 20:43; 89. Justine Johnson 20:43; 152. Liberty Miller 21:07; 187. Maddie Meyers 21:26; 203. Kayla Evans 21:32.
Men's Results (10,000-meters)
Husky Finishers: 69. Joey Bywater 30:29.