UConn men's cross country to compete in the Ted Owens Invitational
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 21:09
The UConn men’s cross country team will compete in their second race of the season on Saturday, Sept. 22, with a new crop of runners representing the team. The Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Ted Owens Invite at Stanley Quarter Park in nearby New Britain will feature six underclassmen: freshmen Alvaro Chavez, Dan Murnane, Zachary Patsy and Ned Wilson, along with sophomores James Agati and Phil Caldwell.
The five-mile race will kick off at 11 a.m. and will feature a competitive field including host CCSU, currently ranked No.15 in the Northeast. For the first time this season, the Huskies don’t have a spot in the top 15 teams for each of the nine regions in the country.
While UConn’s younger runners will face tough competition Saturday, Coach Richard Miller said his expectations for his underclassmen are not result-oriented, especially considering that the Ted Owens Invite will be some of the athletes’ first time racing the five-mile distance.
“When you go into a competition, you apply your training into racing, which is what I want my guys to do. I want to see my younger athletes respond to the distance, work collectively and run a consistent race,” Miller said.
But for frontrunners Ryan McGuire and Jordan Magath, the objective of the Ted Owens Invite will be quite different. Coming off strong second and sixth place finishes, respectively, at last weekend’s Minuteman Invitational, the pair is expected to contend with the leaders on Saturday. This lead pack will likely include CCSU sophomore Andy Pullaro and junior Andrew Hill, the leaders of the Blue Devil contingent at the team’s previous two meets.
Miller expects McGuire and Magath to give their best effort out on the Stanley Quarter course. “They should challenge to win the race,” he said, “and not let down at all.”
Another alteration in UConn’s lineup for Saturday is the loss of middle-distance specialists Joe Clark and Tim and Alex Bennatan, who will continue training this weekend in preparation for the New England Championships on Oct. 7. Sophomore Stephen Vento, who was UConn’s sixth finisher at the Minuteman Invitational, is included in this Saturday’s roster.
For the entire team, competitions provide additional practice for particular aspects of the race that need to be improved. Perhaps UConn’s biggest weakness, as Miller has previously said, maintaining focus throughout each mile of the five-mile pursuit. The Ted Owens Invite will allow another opportunity to do just that: improve. “The only way to truly test our focus is in a race, and we will continue to develop that on Saturday,” Miller said. “We just want each mile to keep getting better.”