The No. 4 Washington women’s cross country team surprised its competition at the Nuttycombe Invitational on Friday, winning out over some of the best teams in the country.
The Huskies placed first in the women’s 6,000-meter championship race with a total of 124 points. No. 3 North Carolina State came in second with 166, followed by No. 1 Providence with 170.
Junior Amy-Eloise Neal was the first across the finish line for Washington, coming in fourth with a time of 20:05. Sophomore Charlotte Prouse was right behind her, finishing fifth in 20:08. Freshman Kaitlyn Neal and senior Kaylee Flanagan came in 34th (20:47) and 36th (20:49).
The first place finish will give the Huskies momentum as they head into the postseason, as they were able to beat out all 18 of the top-30 ranked teams in the nation who were at the invitational. The UW will be a strong contender for the national title in November.
The invitational did not have the same results for the No. 23 Washington men’s cross country team, which placed 16th out of 30 teams in the 8,000-meter race.
Junior Fred Huxham was the first finisher for the UW. He came in 37th with a time of 24:27. Junior Colby Gilbert, usually the top runner for the Huskies, came in 63rd with a time of 24:45. Juniors Johnathan Stevens and Andrew Gardner fell back to 90th (24:55.6) and 91st (24:55.9).
"The goal was to be in the top-10 so it wasn't a great day, but the west region accomplished a lot which is good," head coach Greg Metcalf told GoHuskies.com. "Fred made a lot of progress from two weeks ago. Colby will be much better as we move forward, and I thought it was just an average day for Johnny and Andrew, with Mahmoud running solid. But so you walk away, learn where you're at, and hopefully be much better in two weeks."
Washington had some runners participating in the “B” races as well, with junior Izzi Batt-Doyle taking home the individual title in the women’s 6,000-meter “B” race.
The UW will take a week off before heading into the postseason, which will begin with a trip to to Tucson, Ariz., for the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships on Oct. 28.
Reach reporter Carly Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @carlyfries83