Huskies place ninth at NCAA Championships
The UConn women's cross-country team competed in the NCAA Championship meet on Friday, Nov. 17, and the Huskies - who wrapped up their record-setting season ranked 14th in the country - put forth a superb effort against the top competition in the country, finishing in ninth place overall. Head Coach Andrea Grove-McDonough's squad racked up a total of 304 points, while the Oregon Ducks took first place with a total of 114 points.
Pacing the Huskies was sophomore All-Big East teamer Lindsay Crevoiserat, who finished the 6-kilometer race 30th overall with a time of 20:18. Following Crevoiserat were junior co-captain Lauren Sara (47th, 20:30), junior Allison Lasnicki (53rd, 20:36), senior Shauna McNiff (81st, 20:51) and freshman Julia Zrinyi (93rd, 20:56).
"[The finish] is huge for the program, and obviously it's huge for recruiting," Grove-McDonough said. "But it's also great for the entire program and for all of our alumni. It really goes to show people that we did what we said we would do: turn this program into a National Championship-caliber one and build a strong cross-country tradition."
Grove-McDonough was named the Northeast Region Coach of the Year on Nov. 13, and her staff was also honored as the 2012 Big East Coaching Staff of the Year.
When looking back at the Huskies' 2012 campaign, one would be hard pressed to think of ways in which it could have gone any better. UConn took second place at the Big East Championship, won the Northeast Regional championship, finished inside the top ten in its first ever National Championship appearance and reached the highest national ranking in the history of the program. And individually, several team members took home All-Big East and All-Region accolades.
And just when you think UConn's outlook couldn't be any brighter, the team will lose only one starter out of its top five, stalwart senior Shauna McNiff. With a talented group of freshmen - led by Julia Zrinyi, Abby Mace and Emily Durgin - waiting in the wings, Grove-McDonough expects little to no drop off from a talent perspective going into 2013.
"We would like to obviously get back to the National Championship and back into the top ten in the nation next year," Grove-McDonough said. "And depending on how everyone comes back in the fall, we could even shoot for a podium spot. It's not out of the realm of possibility for this group."
Grove-McDonough was also quick to credit the effort and commitment displayed by her seniors throughout their respective careers.
"They are an amazing, tough and gritty group," Grove-McDonough said. "They have been a part of this team's rise from the beginning, and we really owe a lot of this success to them directly."
The UConn women's cross-country team will return next year having set the bar higher than anyone had expected, but the Huskies certainly have the talent to improve upon what was perhaps the best season the cross-country program has ever seen.
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