Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dawgs and Cougs set to battle nation's best cross country teams at Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invite...

The Washington men's squad works on practice starts
Friday at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in
Madison, WI (Paul Merca photo)
MADISON, Wisconsin—Can Washington State’s men’s squad bounce back from a bad performance at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational and maintain their national ranking?

Can the Washington men, who are outside of the current USTFCCCA national top 30, take the next step and run a strong race that puts them in the national conversation going into the championship season?

Can the perennial national powerhouse Husky women’s team rise up and get themselves into the top ten going into the Pac-12 championships with a solid performance?

While those questions may or may not have definite answers, collegiate cross country fans will have a better understanding of the national landscape after Friday’s Under Armour Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin, and Saturday’s Pre-Nationals race in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Nuttycombe Wisconsin meet features 35 of the country’s leading Division I men’s teams, and 33 women’s squads, with 20 men’s ranked teams, and 17 nationally ranked women’s teams according to the USTFCCCA’s release. 

The powerhouse lineup of teams are led by defending men’s champ and current number one ranked Northern Arizona, while #3 New Mexico and #5 Stanford are the headliners on the women’s side.


The meet gets underway at 11 am, local time (9 am pacific) with the women’s 6k B race, which Washington State is entering a full team, followed by the men’s 8k B section at 11:40.  

The women’s 6k A section goes off at 12:20 pm, followed by the men’s 8k A section at 1 pm. Media partner Flotrack ($) will stream the meet live on flotrack.org.

Saturday, Gonzaga and Eastern Washington will enter teams at the Pre-National Invitational at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky, the site of this year’s NCAA championships, while Seattle University travels south to Sunnyvale, California for the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational.

Additionally, WSU, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington are scheduled to enter teams at Saturday’s Inland Empire Classic in Lewiston, Idaho, hosted by Lewis-Clark State.  Central Washington, the only Washington GNAC school competing this weekend, is also expected to enter runners in that meet.

WESTERN WASHINGTON MEN BREAK INTO USTFCCCA NATIONAL RANKINGS…

Thanks to a strong showing at their own Western Washington Classic last Saturday, the Western Washington men’s team became the first Washington Division II team to earn a USTFCCCA national ranking this season.

The Vikings finished second behind #4 ranked Chico State, and that was enough for the voting panel to rank them #23 in the national poll released Wednesday.

The nation’s top five men’s D2 teams are Adams State, Grand Valley State, Colorado Mines, Chico State, and Cal Poly Pomona.

Number 13 Western Oregon and Alaska Anchorage at #17 are the only other men’s teams from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference to be ranked in the national top 25.

Next up for the Vikings is the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet at East Lake Padden Park in Bellingham on October 21st.

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

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