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After strong season, Huskies come up short at Nationals

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After strong season, Huskies come up short at Nationals

A group of UW runners lead the race during the Huskies' meet against Seattle University at Magnuson Park on Aug. 30, 2019.

After strong showings at Regionals, the nationally ranked Washington cross-country teams traveled to Terre Haute, Indiana to compete against the nation’s best in the NCAA national championships.

The No. 4 Washington women’s team followed up their second-place finish in regionals with a disappointing 11th place at Nationals.  They finished just two points behind 10th place Colorado, but ended a full 200 points behind first-place finisher Arkansas.

Freshman Mel Smart was the Huskies top finisher, running a 20:24.8 for 12th place. This was the best individual finish for a Husky since 2017. Smart was also the highest placed freshman at Nationals. Seniors Katie Rainsberger and Lilli Burdon finished in 33rd and 118th, respectively. Rainsberger has now earned All-American honors for the second straight year.

The No. 11 Washington men also had a disappointing outing, finishing in 19th place overall with 466 points. This is 13 places worse than their 6th place finish last year in Madison, Wisconsin. The Huskies were led by senior Jack Rowe, who finished in 31:54.2, good enough for 88th. All other Huskies finished outside of the top-100.

For both the men and the women, nationals was the first meet this year that either team finished outside of the top 5. In fact, just over a month ago when Pre-Nationals was run on the very same course, the women finished in first, and the men finished in fourth in their respective races. 

However, despite not hitting their goals, it was both the sixth time in Husky history and second year in a row that both the men’s and women’s teams finished inside the top 20 at Nationals.

Reach reporter Nick Lombroia at Twitter: @lombroia

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