Aug. 31, 2012
SEATTLE - A busy first week for the Husky cross country team wrapped up today at Magnuson Park with an informal open race featuring Washington and Seattle U. Many of UW's top returners did not compete after running a six-mile tempo run earlier in the day, but the distance crew showed off its depth with the afternoon run by Lake Washington.
After reporting on Monday and practicing for the first time as a unit on Tuesday, the Huskies broke out the jerseys for the first time this afternoon. The team will now head to its annual fall camp, held at Seabrook on the Washington coast for the second year in a row.
The women's 3-mile course around Magnuson was covered in just over 17-minutes by seven Huskies finishing within a couple seconds of each other. Veteran Huskies Kayla Evans and Chelsea Orr crossed first and second, respectively, in 17:17. Close behind was freshman Maddie Meyers, junior Breanna Hushcka, redshirt frosh Baylee Mires, and sophomore Anna Dailey. Freshman CJ Smith also was seventh overall just another second back, with sophomore Erin Johnson completing the UW top-eight.
"As a coaching staff we talked about who we ran a year ago compared to today," said Head Coach Greg Metcalf on the women's group. "Kayla, Bre, Baylee, Anna, none of them raced a year ago. It looked like running a complete team. They were just a few seconds slower than our top group a year ago, so that was fantastic."
The women's team earned the preseason No. 2 national ranking earlier in the week, and it's partly the talent evident in today's race that makes the coming season so promising.
"I knew we had some depth, but wow, we confirmed that today," said Metcalf.
The men's group ran an extra loop around the course, going 4.5 miles total. Seattle U's Erik Barkhaus was the overall winner in 22-minutes, 22-seconds, just ahead of Husky junior Bryan Tibaduiza who was a half-second behind. Only one UW man in competition today ran with the top group a year ago, with a number of redshirt-freshmen wearing the Husky jersey for the first time. Angelo Comeau was fifth in 23:09, Kyle Rae was seventh in 23:17, and Dylan Morin was right behind in eighth, followed by redshirt frosh Bernie Hagan.
The top men's returners were held out this afternoon, but the first week has left Metcalf impressed.
"I read their training logs and our group did a great job this summer," he said. "We've had some great practice runs. The overall goal this summer was to be patient, and the reality is our focus is being ready Friday, November 9 in Seattle for the Regional meet. Our top-10 guys I think are fit and healthy and prepared for the season."
"We ran a handful of guys today, and Bryan that was a pleasant surprise. Angelo has improved form a year ago while Dylan and Bernie and Kyle Rae did what they were supposed to do. We roll into September and I like where we are. Compared to a year ago I think is a more experienced, solid group."