SEATTLE – Magnusson Park provided a beautiful and sunny setting once again for the first official race of the season for the Washington cross country teams. This afternoon, the Huskies and Redhawks of Seattle kicked off the fall with an open meet along the water, testing their early season fitness and knocking off some rust.
The plan for both the Husky men’s and women’s teams was to hit a certain pace for each mile over the course. The women made two loops for 4,800-meters while the men ran a third loop for a 7,200-meter run. Washington had the top-10 finishers on the men’s side, six of them newcomers, while the women placed nine in the top-10, four of whom were freshmen.
Even after the completion of the races, a number of Huskies fresh off the race went and did a second workout of 800-meter repeats to cap the day. Tomorrow will be a day off for the Huskies followed by a long run on Sunday, and Monday the team heads to training camp at Seabrook on the coast.
In the women’s race, the fifth-ranked Huskies had a lot of familiar faces in the front, though many wore some unfamiliar “jerseys.” The lead group of women all came to the finish line together. Somewhat reluctantly, Eleanor Fulton was the one pegged to cross the line first for the win in 17-minutes and six seconds, which was about 10 seconds faster for the lead group than a year ago.
Seattle U’s Hannah Mittelstaedt hung with the Dawgs and placed second. The main pack also included seniors Katie Flood and Liberty Miller, sophomores Baylee Mires and Maddie Meyers, and freshmen Amy-Eloise Neale, Katie Knight, and Kaylee Flanagan. Freshman Haley Suarez was just another couple seconds back in 10th.
“We thought our team had great depth and watching them run today day one at Magnusson, I thought they did a great job, and it looked how it was supposed to look,” said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. “I was excited to see the freshmen run and see how they would handle it, and they looked fantastic. It was a great controlled effort. Our entire group was under 17:45 today so that’s a positive.”
The men’s race was highlighted by 10 new Huskies, all wearing a mismatched assortment of prep jerseys or other unaffiliated gear, the reason being to leave potential redshirt seasons open to any runner who has not yet redshirted in their careers.
Late in the race, a group of five Dawgs got a little separation, and they crossed five runners wide over the finish line, though junior Aaron Nelson was credited with the win in 22:17. Sophomore Tyler King was also right alongside, and joining the two returners were freshmen Sumner Goodwin, Andrew Gardnery, and Johnathan Stevens. Just over 10 seconds back came sophomores Meron Simon and Tim Cummings and sophomore transfer Izaic Yorks. Another new transfer, Jacob Smith, was ninth in 22:32, and freshman A.J. Yarnall capped the top-10 in 22:41.
“We gave them instructions to run a five-minutes (mile) pace which was about 22:30, so a few guys got a little ahead of that but the next group had exactly the prescribed effort,” said Metcalf. “But the front group, the freshmen Johnathan, Andrew and Sumner all looked great. I’m really happy and excited to watch those guys run, then you see the maturity of Aaron and Tyler as well. A lot of guys had solid efforts today, so this was a great snapshot of what our team currently is and we’ll head to camp and keep progressing.”
On their return to Seattle from the coast, the Huskies will get set to host the annual Sundodger Invitational, on Sept. 14 out at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.