Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Washington Huskies head to Notre Dame for Notre Dame Invitational...

The Washington Huskies will run in the Notre Dame Invitational this Friday, one day before the Huskies and Fighting Irish square off on the gridiron. The top-ranked Husky women and 22nd-ranked men will get a major early season test, running against numerous ranked opponents.

The race goes over the Notre Dame Golf Course, located just west of the football stadium. After two small college races and an open race, the highlighted "Blue" races get underway with the women's 5,000-meters at 1:15 p.m. Pacific time, 4:15 local. That will be followed by the men's 8,000-meter run, at 2 p.m. Pacific, 5:00 local.

The Notre Dame Invitational is one of the nation's oldest and largest intercollegiate cross country meets. The Invitational was started by former Irish head coach Alex Wilson in 1956 and regularly features runners from approximately 60 schools around the country.

UW's women's group will get an early look at a couple of the top NCAA contenders this season, as No. 3 Florida State and No. 6 Princeton will be racing to unseat the Dawgs. Additional ranked teams in the women's field include No. 12 Providence, No. 13 Arizona State, No. 15 Florida, No. 22 Penn State, No. 24 Notre Dame, No. 25 New Mexico, and No. 27 Rice. Pac-10 rivals Arizona and UCLA will also be on hand. The Seminoles' Susan Kuijken has been the NCAA runner-up the past two years and should be the individual favorite.

Six ranked men's teams will lineup on Friday, including 11th-ranked Tulsa, No. 15 Providence, the Huskies at No. 22, 24th-ranked New Mexico, No. 28 Notre Dame, and No. 30 Princeton. Similar to the women, the UW men will see conference foes Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA as well.

This Friday will mark the first time the Husky women have run their full group since last year's NCAA Championships. At the season-opening Sundodger Invitational victory, Christine Babcock, Katie Follett, and Kailey Campbell did not compete, but all three will be in action this Friday, along with NCAA returners Kendra Schaaf, Mel Lawrence, and Lauren Saylor who all have one race under their belts already. Junior Kenna Patrick, redshirt freshman Allison Linnell, and freshman Lindsay Flanagan round out UW's nine competitors.

The men, who moved up two spots in this week's USTFCCCA rankings, will be led by Sundodger Champ Kelly Spady, and senior track All-American Jake Schmitt, who will be making his season-debut. Senior Colton Tully-Doyle will look to build off his excellent third-place Sundodger run.

Also ready to run for UW is junior Jordan Swarthout, sophomores Cameron Quackenbush, Max O'Donoghue-McDonald and David McCary, redshirt freshman Joey Bywater (above/photo by Paul Merca), and freshman James Cameron who will run attached for the first time after taking eighth at the Sundodger in his first college 8k.

Back home in Seattle, those Huskies not heading to Notre Dame will be at Lower Woodland Park to run in the Emerald City Open hosted by Seattle U. The women's 6,000-meter run will start at 10:30 a.m. with an 8,000-meter run for the men taking off at 11:15 a.m.

NOTE: The sports information office of the University of Washington contributed to this report.

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