In an underwhelming finish to the season, the No. 7 Washington women’s cross country team finished 12th place at the NCAA championships.
The top-15 finish was well below what the Huskies were hoping for, which was a place in the top five. The UW’s impressive performance throughout the season put it in a solid position to improve upon last year’s 10th place finish at nationals, but when the time came to race, the Huskies fell short.
Redshirt junior Amy-Eloise Neale was again the first Husky across the finish line, coming in eighth and finishing the 6,000-meter race with a time of 19:58. In her usual racing style, Neale made a surge near the end of the race, and moved up from being around 25th place to having a speedy top-10 finish.
Throughout the season Washington has made its goal to keep its first through fifth place runners very close together. But on Saturday the UW did not meet that goal — the next Husky to finish after Neale was freshman Kaitlyn Neal, who came in 78th (20:43). The spread between the Huskies first and fifth runner was 1:05.
Junior Izzi Batt-Doyle finished third for the Huskies, coming in 109th (20:52). Junior Katie Knight placed 113th (20:53) and senior Kaylee Flanagan rounded out the scoring for the Huskies in 150th (21:04). Usually the second runner for the UW, sophomore Charlotte Prouse was the last Husky across the finish line Saturday, which contributed to the larger spread.
In a huge upset, No. 12 Oregon took home the team title, finishing with 125 points. No. 5 Michigan came in second with 126 and No. 1 Colorado, the favorite to win by a longshot, came in third with 134. The Huskies, in 12th, had 352 points.
Junior Fred Huxham also competed individually in the men’s 10,000-meter race after finishing third at the NCAA West Region Championships. Huxham had a strong performance and finished 100th in a field of 251 runners with a time of 30:51.
Northern Arizona took home the men’s team title, with Stanford in second and Syracuse in third.
The Huskies will now head into the offseason and begin preparation for the indoor track and field season that begins in January.
Reach reporter Carly Knight at email@example.com. Twitter: @carlyfries83