MADISON, Wisconsin--Competing against a large, stacked field (left/photo by Mike Scott) that included twenty squads ranked in the USTFCCCA top 30, the defending team champion Washington Huskies finished fourth at Friday's Wisconsin adidas Invitational on the Zimmer Championships Course.
The Husky women had a strong pack with just 31 seconds separating their one through five scorers. Junior Katie Flood was at the front of that group, despite not having one of her best days on the course, as she placed 29th in 20:12 for 6,000-meters. Junior Justine Johnson was close behind in 35th-place, followed by senior Lindsay Flanagan in 41st, junior Liberty Miller in 67th, and senior Kayla Evans capped the scoring in 80th-place in 20:43. Freshman Maddie Meyers also placed 114th and sophomore Joelle Amaral was 244th.
Fifth-ranked Iowa State earned the win with 109 points, followed by No. 7 Stanford with 181 and No. 2 Arizona with 242, then the Huskies right behind the Wildcats in fourth with 252. Washington finished ahead of the likes of No. 9 Cornell, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 12 Vanderbilt, No. 13 Weber State, No. 14 Penn State, and ten more ranked squads.
"The women's race was very different from a year ago," said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. "All of our women ran faster a year ago but we weren't up quite as far as we'd like to be. We end up finishing fourth, so it was a solid performance, but collectively we were a little flat."
Once again, the Huskies were missing All American Megan Goethals, who turns out to have a reaction in her femur, according to a post on her Twitter feed.
Freshman Laura Hollander of Cal Poly/SLO was the surprise winner of the Wisconsin adidas race, crossing the line in 19:33. two seconds up on Iowa State's Betsy Saina.
In the men's 8k race, seniors Joey Bywater and Rob Webster Jr. led the way. Bywater led the Dawgs for the third time already this season, finishing 42nd overall in 23:58. Webster had one Metcalf called possibly his best regular season cross country race, finishing 67th in 24:07.
Sophomore Aaron Beattie finished 100th overall in 24:17. The Dawgs were in the top-20 as a team late but lost some ground over the last mile. Sophomore Aaron Nelson came in 154th and redshirt freshman Tyler King rounded out the scoring in 179th-place in 24:37. Taylor Carlson was 204th and Bryan Tibaduiza was 268th to finish the top-seven.
Washington finished 22nd out of 45 teams, a big improvement over the same race a year ago where UW was 31st out of 39 teams. Washington tied 16th-ranked Minnesota with 542 points, and placed ahead of No. 13 Notre Dame, No. 29 Virginia, and No. 30 Missouri. The Huskies were also ahead of Cal Poly, which was ranked sixth in the West Region ahead of UW, as well as beating out Pac-12 foes Arizona and California.
Stanford took the team title with 135, followed by Iona (145), Oklahoma (166), Texas (267), and Arkansas (308) rounding out the top five.
Given the reactionary nature of the USTFCCCA coaches' poll, expect some significant shifts when the polls release either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
The Huskies will now set their sights on the Pac-12 Championships, hosted by UCLA in Santa Clarita, Calif. at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course. The championships are set for Saturday, Oct. 27, starting at 9:40 a.m.
NOTE: The University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin sports information offices contributed to this report.