The UConn women’s cross country team showcased its depth in the UB Stampede Invitational, Friday winning their second consecutive meet in commanding fashion.
After last week’s performance in the Minuteman Invitational, which saw the Huskies tally 26 points en route to a first-place finish, it seemed like the season could not have gotten off to a better start.
Then Saturday happened.
The women improved upon their previous meet’s performance by setting a new season benchmark scoring 21 points. The next closest team was the University of Buffalo which scored 43 points, followed by the University of Vermont with 69 points.
The dominant performance yet again started with the feet of freshman Mia Nahom, who was the first UConn runner to cross the finish line. Nahom earned a second-place finish with a time of 21:46.3 and an average mile pace of 5:50.4. Within ten seconds, three more Huskies would cross the finish line as juniors Haley Hasty, Kelsey Swanson and Courtney Akerley would secure third, fourth and fifth place, respectively. Shortly after, freshman Brianna O’Brien rounded out the top-seven with a time of 22:02.4 to help seal the victory for the Huskies.
“The team ran smart and tough at the end with a good spread of about 15 seconds from first to fifth,” head coach J.J. Clark per UConn Athletics said. “We had four in the top five and five in the top 10 to beat a good Buffalo team.”
Not to be overlooked is Buffalo sophomore Stephanie Ward, who put on a show. Ward finished in first place at the meet. However, Ward’s teammates could not provide the support around her to earn a team victory.
She finished with a time 21:08.9 and a pace of 5:40.3. To put that in perspective, UConn runner Nahom was running at a mile pace ten seconds slower than Ward and finished 38 seconds behind her. Still, her fantastic individual performance was no match for the team effort that Clark and his unit put forth.
“We got great efforts from our upperclassmen and freshman groups to formulate a great team result,” Clark said.
The women will look to make it three in a row when they compete in the Coast-to-Coast Battle Friday, Sept. 22, at Franklin Park in Boston, Mass.
Kenny Beardsley is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.