Friday, October 14, 2016

Husky women make statement with win at Wisconsin; WSU men exceed expectations...

MADISON, Wisconsin—The 4th ranked University of Washington women’s cross country team may have put the country on notice after its convincing team victory at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational cross country meet, taking down three teams ranked in the top 10, including #1 Providence.

The Huskies, who potentially could be the nation’s #1 team when the USTFCCCA national poll comes out on Tuesday, were led by a surprising fourth place finish by Glacier Peak HS alum Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Mike Scott), who ran 20:06, as Gig Harbor HS alum Brenna Peloquin, running for Boise State, won the race in a time of 20:01.

Peloquin sat off the early pace set by the Huskies’ Charlotte Prouse and New Mexico’s Alice Wright before taking command in the final kilometer.

Wright was second in 20:02, with Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer third in 20:04, two seconds ahead of Neale.  Prouse finished fifth in 20:09.

Freshman Katilyn Neal was the Huskies’ third runner in 34th place at 20:48, followed by Kaylee Flanagan two places behind in 20:50.  Freshman Nikki Zielinski rounded out the scoring for the Dawgs in 45th at 20:58.

Veterans Anna Maxwell in 48th (20:59), and Pac-12 10000 meter champ Katie Knight in 50th (21:00) were the Dawgs’ final runners across the line.

Washington finished with 124 points, ahead of #3 ranked NC State's 166, and #1 Providence’s 170.

UW head coach Greg Metcalf said, "Our women were out aggressive and they raced hard and we had seven solid performances today, eight with Izzi (Batt-Doyle) in the open race," he said. "I thought we had a shot today if we just were competitive and assertive. We had a monster lead at the halfway point and just kept hammering to the finish line. Charlotte and Amy to be top-five were just fantastic performances today, their best ever on the big stage."

In contrast, Washington’s men’s squad may have taken a step back after a solid performance at its own invitational, and Washington State outperformed the expectations of the nation’s cross country prognosticators, and rebounded after a disappointing performance two weeks ago in South Bend, Indiana at the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.

The Cougars, who entered the meet outside the national top 30, finished ninth in the invitational mens’ 8k race, led by Michael Williams’ 15th place finish in 24:11.  

John Whelan, who ran with the leaders early, was WSU’s second runner across the line in 23rd in 24:22.  He was followed by Chandler Teigen in 67th in 24:47, and Sam Levora in 68th in 24:48.

Nathan Wadhwani rounded out Washington State’s scorers in 110th in 25:07.

For the #23 ranked Huskies, Fred Huxham led the team to a 16th place team finish with his 37th place finish in 24:28. Team leader Colby Gilbert, who was up in the front pack early, faded to 63rd in 24:46.  

Washington’s other three scorers were Johnathan Stevens in 90th (24:56), Andrew Gardner in 91st (24:56), and Mahmoud Moussa in 135th (25:21).

Syracuse’s Justyn Knight won the individual title in 23:54, as the current #1 team in the country Northern Arizona won the team title with 78 points, followed by Stanford’s 118.

"We came in a little humbled from an off day at Notre Dame (Sept. 30) so everyone was really ready to get after it," WSU’s John Whelan said. "Boosted by a couple of great performances from Michael and Chandler we got the job done today, scoring points against a lot out-of-region teams that will help us towards NCAA qualifying."

Like the women’s race, the men’s competition showed that when the national rankings come out on Tuesday, there will be significant changes, with 19 ranked teams in the field, and another six, including Washington State, receiving votes in the last poll.

The women’s open race got the day started, as the Huskies’ Australian import, Izzi Batt-Doyle took the victory in 21:05.

Washington State’s Devon Bortfeld led the Cougars to a fourth place team finish with 137 points, as she finished fourth in 21:23.  Morgan Willson was 18th in 21:58, followed by Josie Brown in 34th at 22:25.

Morgan Lash in 35th (22:26), and Jenaya Pynn in 46th (22:35) rounded out the Wazzu scorers.

The Huskies finished seventh in the open race with 153 points, as Emily Hamlin was 6th in 21:28.  Following her were Katherine Penner in 33rd (22:25), Grace Hodge in 49th (22:40), and Joey Bosserman in 64th (23:20).

NOTE:  The sports information offices of the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the University of Wisconsin contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, we incorrectly wrote that the WSU men's cross country team "rebounded from a disappointing performance two weeks ago in Minnesota at the Roy Griak Invitational", when in actuality, it was in South Bend, Indiana at the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.  

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