MADISON, Wisconsin--The University of Washington's Aaron Nelson (left/photo by Mike Scott) moved up one spot from his fourth place finish in last year's meet to take third at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational Friday morning at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course to lead the Huskies to a eighth-place team finish.
It was the first top-10 finish at Wisconsin for the Husky men in the four years they’ve made the trip. They upset 10 teams ranked ahead of them, while six of the seven teams that finished ahead of UW were ranked in the top-10 entering the meet.
Nelson was up in the lead pack early, and stayed around 25th until things began to break up, when he moved into a lead group of about ten. Heading into the last 800-meters, the Walla Walla native made another move and briefly grabbed the lead with about 600 to go. That move was quickly countered by Futsum Zienasellassie of Northern Arizona and Maxim Korolev of Stanford, and Nelson chased them in third. Korolev would hold the lead to win in 23:43 with Zienasellassie second and Nelson third in 23:51 for the 8,000-meters.
Syracuse won the team title with 85 points, followed by Iona with 154, host Wisconsin with 176, Portland at 211, and Stanford with 220.
Colby Gilbert was the second Husky across the line in 53rd in 24:21, with Izaic Yorks four spots behind in 24:22. Tyler King was 65th in 24:25, with A.J. Yarnall rounding out the scorers in 97th in 24:37, giving the Huskies a 1-5 split of 46 seconds.
“This was a performance we’ve been waiting for from our men’s team, but we need to continue to build on it and gain confidence from here,” said UW coach Greg Metcalf.
On the women's side, the Huskies finished 13th, led by the 40th place finish of Maddie Meyers, who covered the 6k course in 20:36.
Freshman Anna Maxwell was 55th in 20:45, followed by Kaylee Flanagan in 70th in 20:52, followed by Eleanor Fulton in 112th in 21:18, and Kelly Lawson in 159th in 21:41, giving Washington a 1-5 split of 65 seconds.
Iowa State's Crystal Nelson won the race in 19:35, followed by Michigan State's Rachele Schulist in 19:39, and Arizona State's Shelby Houlihan, the NCAA 1500m champ, third in 19:41.
Michigan State won the team title with 87 points, followed by Arkansas with 191, then Iowa State with 212, Wisconsin with 227, and West Virginia at 245 points.
“It was a mixed bag a little bit on the women’s side,” said Metcalf. “Anna had her best race yet as a Husky and showed some of the big talent that she possesses. Maddie, Kaylee and Eleanor all ran solid and better than they were a year ago at this meet. Making the top-10 as a team would have been a terrific day against this field, and we were just short of that. There is so much to learn from every race with a group this young, with four of our seven taking on a race of this size for the first time. They’ll get better from it for sure.”
NOTE: The University of Washington sports information office contributed to this report.