Huskies finish top 20 at Wisconsin Adidas Invitational
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 22:10
The UConn women’s cross country team participated in the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational last Friday afternoon in Madison, Wis., and returned to Storrs with a 19th place finish against what was the toughest field of competition the team has faced all year. UConn finished the meet – their fifth of the year – with a total of 510 points. The victor, Iowa State, tallied 109 points thanks to two individual top five finishes.
Junior Allison Lasnicki led the way for UConn, finishing 11th overall with a stellar time of 19:57. Following Lasnicki were junior Lauren Sara (39th, 20:22), freshman Julia Zrinyi (95th, 20:48), seniors Shauna McNiff (112nd, 22:56) and Allison Cooper (243rd, 21:41), freshman Emily Durgin (266th, 21:53) and junior Brigitte Mania (314th, 23:01).
“Allison had a breakthrough race, but I think those of us on the inside knew she was really fit and ready to explode,” Coach Andrea Grove-McDonough said. “She was going into the meet with a lot of confidence, and I’ve always said that there can be magic when an athlete is fit and confident. My job at that point with an athlete who’s in the zone like that is just to get out of the way and let her do her thing.”
It had been Grove-McDonough’s hope from the outset to finish somewhere inside the top 20, and the fact that the Huskies reached that goal despite racing without starter sophomore Lindsay Crevoiserat – who did not make the trip due to illness – was a very pleasant surprise.
“Given the scenario going into the meet, it went as well as it could have gone,” Grove-McDonough said. “Lauren [Sara] was a little off again, but she’s fit, and normally she’d be a top ten runner at that meet. But even with Lauren being a little off, our kids still fought. Overall, it was a very good day. I wasn’t sure if we’d be capable of that type of performance without Lindsay.”
The void left by Crevoiserat was the big storyline heading into the race, and the entire team had to collectively step up and make up for losing such a key runner. Freshman Durgin, who took Crevoiserat’s place in the starting lineup, didn’t know she was racing until the Wednesday before the race, the day the team was to fly out to Madison. Durgin, who was the week’s Big East Athlete of the Week, earned the praise of her coach after the race.
“She was a late add, and she ran pretty well,” Grove-McDonough said. “She raced the previous Sunday at the New England Championships, and I texted her Wednesday morning and said, ‘You’re in. Start packing.’ But I thought she held her own out there.”
As a team, the squad finished ahead of both San Francisco – which was ranked 20th in the most recent USTFCCCA National poll – and North Carolina State, which was ranked 26th. UConn also finished ahead of the host team, Wisconsin, which was ranked 30th in the National poll on Oct. 2. Grove-McDonough hopes that the at-large points gained from those head-to-head wins will result in the Huskies cracking the national rankings themselves. The next national poll will be released on Oct. 16, and Grove-McDonough “would be shocked” if her team was not ranked.
The Huskies return to action this weekend at the CCSU Mini-Meet, and then, the following week UConn will participate in the Big East Championships. Grove-McDonough believes her team will be back at full strength for the Big East meet, but a lot can happen in two weeks, as she found out the hard way last weekend.
“We are excited,” Grove-McDonough said. “There’s a lot of energy within the group and we’re excited for the Big East Championship.”