In the final cross country race of her career, senior Amy-Eloise Neale finished second individually at the 2017 NCAA National Championships while both the women’s and men’s teams put out very respectable performances against the top programs in the country on a rainy day in Louisville, Kentucky.
The No. 22 women’s team was once again led by Neale, who chased down 17 runners over the final two kilometers to jump from 19th all the way to second, crossing the finish line with a time of 19:26.93. She joins Regina Joyce as the only Huskies with two top-10 performances at the National Championships and ties Joyce and Kendra Scaaf for the highest finish in school history. She was also awarded the title of All-American for finishing in the top 40.
The Huskies next-best finisher was senior Izzi Batt-Doyle who finished in 130th with a time of 20:57.11, only about a minute and a half behind Neale. Senior Anna Maxwell was the third Washington runner to cross, coming in at 148th in 21:04.18, just under four seconds before junior Emily Hamlin in 155th at 21:07.82. Freshman Allie Schadler rounded out the top five, coming in at 209th with a time of 21:42.76, helping the Huskies earn 21st place in the team competition.
The men entered the race at No. 12, coming off a fantastic showing at the Western Regionals. In his second 10K of the year, senior Andrew Gardner was the UW’s top finisher, coming in at 66th with a time of 30.23.1. He was followed by fellow senior Colby Gilbert in 106th, who finished at 30:47.8. He was just six seconds ahead of sophomore Andy Snyder in 118th before the Husky five was wrapped up by junior Mahmoud Moussa and freshman Talon Hull, who crossed together in 143rd and 144th respectively. The men claimed 22nd place.
The individual women’s race winner was sophomore Ednah Kurgat from No. 2 New Mexico, who ran away with the win as she finished at 19:19.5, a whole seven and a half seconds in front of Neale. This helped New Mexico claim the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championship after finishing seventh last year. No. 3 San Francisco and No. 1 Colorado rounded out the top three.
The men’s individual champion was No. 3 Syracuse senior Justyn Knight, who finished at 29:00.2, a mere .6 seconds in front of No. 1 Northern Arizona senior Matthew Baxter, and just under five seconds before Baxter’s teammate Tyler Day. However, those high finishes would help Northern Arizona claim the NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championship for the second year in a row. No. 4 Portland, which barely claimed victory of the UW men at the Western Regionals, finished in second while No. 2 BYU finished third.
This is the last race for the 2017 cross country season, but most of the runners will return in the spring for the track season, which starts with the UW Indoor Track Preview on January 13.
Reach contributing writer Andy Yamashita at email@example.com. Twitter: @ANYamashita