The University of Connecticut’s men’s and women’s cross country teams are in top shape ahead of the Princeton Invitational meet this weekend.
“We currently have a big group of athletes all running near identical times this season, and they’re only getting better each week,” head coach Lindsay Crevoiserat said.
Crevoiserat, women’s cross country head coach and track and field assistant coach, will be fielding 13 athletes this year, a step-up from last year’s nine. The field is set to include last year’s top finisher for the Huskies, Randi Burr, who recently registered a personal best of 20:25.
“Training has been great and our team is working hard,” Burr said. “We’re feeling stronger and more confident in our abilities and the team’s.”
Also among the field is junior Mia Nahom, the fastest Husky this season, who recorded 20:40, at the recently concluded Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
“The goal is to try closing the gap between our top runners, and generally running more closely, as this meet is preparation for the conference championships in two weeks,” Crevoiserat said.
On the men’s side, head coach Greg Roy is still confident in his athletes despite a young team.
“I feel pretty good about the team right now,” Roy said. “In terms of what we’re doing, we’ve got some guys who are starting to feel like they can do something, I like the talent.”
The men will be represented by 11 athletes this year, bidding to better the teams fourth place finish last year. Team Captain Eric Van Der Els returns this year, following his 25th place finish at last year’s meet.
“It’s been a great two weeks coming off the Paul Short Invitational, we’ve gotten a lot of work done since then, and Coach Roy has prepared us to perform well on Saturday,” Van Der Els said. “If we can replicate what we did last year in the team rankings, we’ll be looking good going into the championships.”
The men’s team finished fourth behind Princeton, Villanova and arch-rivals Temple University at last year’s meet.
“They’re in pretty good shape, and there were also a couple of freshmen in the top five at the Paul Short Invite last weekend,” Roy said. “The top two guys look great, and I told them I don’t want them to hold back.”
The Princeton Invitational, in its 10th staging, will be the third meet this season for UConn’s cross country team.