Dawgs Back In Motion In Wisconsin
Oct. 13, 2011
ADIDAS WISCONSIN INVITATIONAL
ON THE COURSE: Following several critical weeks of work, the Washington cross country teams get to line up and race again this week and gauge how far they've come since September. Once again the Huskies are headed east, this time to Wisconsin which hosts the Adidas Wisconsin Invitational in Madison. The huge fields will be akin to the national meet, with dozens of ranked teams from all around the country battling it out this Friday afternoon.
In recent years, UW has been at the Pre-National Meet this weekend, but a new course in Wisconsin, the Thomas Zimmer Championships Course, has attracted the caliber of field usually associated with Pre-Nats. With 19 of the top-30 ranked teams on the men's side and 18 of the top-30 on the women's side, Friday will be crucial for postseason hopes. If the Huskies run well, they can be sure to chalk up a number of "points" needed for NCAA at-large bids.
Four races will be held on Friday, the two main invitationals and then two "B" races. Washington is traveling nine women and ten men, and only seven competitors per team will run in the main invites, so five Dawgs will take advantage of the "B" races. The women's 6,000-meter race goes off at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time, followed by the men's 8,000-meter run at 11:40 a.m., and the women's and men's "B" races at 12:20 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. respectively.
Husky Head Coach Greg Metcalf is adding a few accomplished Dawgs into the mix this week for the first time this season. On the women's side, sophomore Katie Flood will run, having shaken off an early season illness, and redshirt freshman Chelsea Orr is back from a late summer ankle injury. The men add junior Rob Webster, who led the team at Pac-10s and West Regionals last year, as well as redshirt freshman Aaron Beattie. All should give UW a significant boost.
The Husky women have dropped to 24th in the national rankings, based mostly on a Roy Griak run where some late travails kept UW from what was looking like an excellent finish. But much could change after this week as the Huskies get to go against ranked teams such as No. 1 Villanova, No. 2 Providence, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 New Mexico, No. 8 Syracuse, No. 9 Iowa State, and No. 10 California, plus ten more ranked squads.
The men's field is led by No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 4 Stanford, with No. 6 BYU, No. 7 Indiana, No. 9 North Carolina State, and No. 10 Oregon also among the top-10 teams in attendance. Leading the men's group will be senior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald and junior Joey Bywater, who had a top-25 finish at the Roy Griak three weeks back. Sophomores Gareth Gilna and Michael Miller continue to get healthy, and freshmen Aaron Nelson and Meron Simon will look to build off their strong showings at Minnesota where they placed in UW's top-five.
The women are now close to full strength with Flood and Orr returning. Senior Christine Babcock was on her way to a great showing in Minnesota before a bad fall dropped her to the team's number three runner, but it was still a very promising start for the two-time All-American. Junior Lindsay Flanagan led the Huskies with a 14th-place finish three weeks back and sophomore Justine Johnson also ran well in Minnesota. Sophomore Megan Goethals and freshman Eleanor Fulton look to bounce back from off days, and sophomore Liberty Miller and redshirt freshman Megan Morgan will aim for breakout days as well.
EXPECTED TO RUN: Following is a list of Huskies expected to make the trip to Friday's Wisconsin Invitational. The top five finishers score points for the team with the sixth and seventh finishers able to displace top-five finishers from competing teams.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Husky women's team is 24th in the USTFCCCA national rankings this week following two weeks off. Washington dropped in the polls from 11th to 20th after the Roy Griak Invitational, then lost four more spots while being idel. The men have received votes in the polls this season but are currently unranked. The Huskies were fifth in the men's preseason West Region poll. Two-time defending NCAA champ Villanova has moved back up to the top spot in the women's rankings after starting the year fifth, with preseason favorite Georgetown slipping to fifth. The men's poll is led by Oklahoma State, last year's champion. The Pac-12 is easily one of the deepest conferences in the nation on both the men's and women's sides. At No. 24, the Husky women are currently only sixth among conference teams, with No. 4 Colorado leading the way. No. 4 Stanford is the highest of six ranked Pac-12 men's teams.
UP AND DOWN DAY FOR DAWGS AT ROY GRIAK: Juniors Joey Bywater and Lindsay Flanagan each turned in Top-25 finishes to lead UW, as the Huskies ran at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis for the first time since 2001. The Husky women outpaced a trio of ranked opponents to finish sixth overall, while the men finished 14th out of 24 teams. The 11th-ranked women were in great shape early on, but had some travails late in the race that dropped them out of contention. Still, they scored an even 200 points to place sixth and beat out the likes of 18th-ranked Penn State, No. 21 North Carolina State, and No. 23 BYU. The Husky men wound up with 309 points. The story for the women was junior Lindsay Flanagan, whose grandfather passed away the week before the race. She honored him in her own way, by leading the Huskies with a 14th-place finish in 21:04 over the 6km course. Following Flanagan was sophomore Justine Johnson, who made her season debut with a 26th-place effort in a time of 21:20. Senior Christine Babcock took 35th in 21:29, but was running in the top-15 before taking a fall and losing thirty places. Sophomore Megan Goethals was also in the top-15 early before dropping back to finish 56th in a time of 21:50. Sophomore Liberty Miller rounded out the scoring in 69th place, clocking 22:02. Bywater gained fourteen spots over the final 3k to wind up 24th in a time of 24:40 over the 8,000-kilometer course. Senior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald was right behind, placing 34th in a time of 24:47. Aaron Nelson and Meron Simon, running attached for the first time in their careers, came through for the Dawgs when a couple other returners had off-days. Nelson, a Walla Walla native, was as far back as 121st through 3k, but charged past dozens of runners over the next few miles to wind up 67th in 25:18. Simon, out of Federal Way, also moved up well throughout and placed 87th as UW's fourth finisher. Senior Cameron Quackenbush then capped the scoring in 101st place out of a field of 220.
SEASON STARTS WITH SUNDODGER SUCCESS: A West Seattle native that ran in Lincoln Park with his middle school team, senior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald became the first Husky ever to win back-to-back Sundodger Invitationals, as he led the men to the victory at UW's annual home meet. The 11th-ranked Husky women were also victorious, both teams finding victory for the fifth year in a row. O'Donoghue-McDonald got the win in 24-minutes, 8-seconds over the 8 kilometer course. Washington scored 28 points to hold off a good challenge from Idaho, which scored 34 for second-place. Junior Joey Bywater was the second Husky across in fifth-place, clocking 24:21. Right behind was senior Cameron Quackenbush in sixth, and sophomore Taylor Carlson in eighth-place. Sophomore Michael Miller finished the scoring in 16th-place, though UW also had three true freshmen running unattached in the top-15. Meron Simon was 11th, Dyland Morin 13th, and Aaron Nelson 14th, all within five seconds of each other. The Husky women were led by a freshman, Eleanor Fulton of Lone Tree, Colorado. Fulton took third in 21:02 as the Husky women went on to score 28 points as well. Behind Fulton in fourth-place was sophomore Phoebe Merritt in 21:16, and sophomore Liberty Miller was fifth in 21:19. Redshirt freshman Megan Morgan was ninth in 21:28, and another true freshman, Erin Johnson, was the fifth Husky scorer crossing in 12th-place in 21:43. Running unattached, freshman Joelle Amaral was just a second behind Johnson in 13th.
UP NEXT: It's already time to run for a championship, as the first ever Pac-12 Championships are just over two weeks away. Arizona State plays host to the meet which takes place on October 29. From there it's on to NCAA Regionals and then the NCAA Championships on November 21.