The highlight of the Washington cross country team’s performance at the Pac-12 Championships on Friday was redshirt junior Amy-Eloise Neale taking home the individual title in the women’s 6,000-meter race.
Neale ran near the front of the pack most of the race, but did not take the lead until the very end. She crossed the finish line in 20:22.9, with the second place finisher, Colorado senior Erin Clark coming in just 0.4 seconds behind her.
“Over the last thousand meters [I] just really thought about all the workouts we’ve done, and told myself that I was really prepared to follow the change in pace,” Neale said. “And over the last hundred meters I just kind of used my instincts and went for it and it turned out really well.”
The No. 2 women’s cross country team placed second with 74 points. No. 1 Colorado took home the team title with 33 points. Following the Huskies were No. 11 Stanford with 83 points, and No. 5 Oregon with 88. The UW will have another chance to defeat Colorado at the NCAA championships in November.
“I think that it wasn’t the greatest day we’ve had, but also to be able to say that and still be second at Pac-12’s is a really cool thing,” Neale said. “The team as a whole I think we still have a lot of work to do, we’ve done some really hard work so maybe we’re a little tired this week, but I think overall we’re in a really really good place as we roll into the next few weeks and nationals, which is one we really really want to be on top for.”
Sophomore Charlotte Prouse also had a strong performance for the Huskies, coming in sixth with a time of 20:32. Junior Katie Knight came in 19th (21:09), and freshman Kaitlyn Neal came in 21st (21:14). Junior Izzi Batt-Doyle came in 28th (21:26), rounding out the scoring for the Huskies.
The No. 25 men’s team came in seventh with 187 points. No. 7 Colorado took the team title for the men as well, with 41 points.
Juniors Fred Huxham[CQ] and Colby Gilbert[CQ] led the way for the UW for most of the 8,000-meter race. But in the end it was junior Andrew Gardner[CQ] who picked up speed and finished first for the Huskies. He came in 18th with a time of 24:53.
Huxham and Gilbert fell slightly farther back. Huxham finished 31st (25:07), and Gilbert finished 45th (25:32). Junior Johnathan Stevens and sophomore Mahmoud Moussa finished 56th (26:03) and 61st (26:22).
While the Huskies were defeated by Cal, an unranked team, they will have another opportunity to take them down in a few weeks.
The UW will next race in the NCAA West Regionals on Nov. 11. They will take a week off before traveling to Sacramento, Calif., for the race.
Reach reporter Carly Knight at email@example.com. Twitter: @carlyfries83