The UConn men’s and women’s cross country teams displayed remarkable performances, obtaining stellar results at the Princeton Invitational over the weekend.
Finishing second and fourth respectively, both teams convincingly managed to better last year’s results, executing their coaches orders of keeping the gaps smaller.
Leading the men to a 120 point finish were redshirt junior Eric Van Der Els and redshirt sophomore Will Brisman, obtaining career best times. Brisman finished ninth with a time of 24:09.0, while Van Der Els finished 10th, one second off at 24:10.0.
“I thought the team performed really well,” Van Der Els said. “Brisman and I stuck to the plan which was to get off the line very aggressive and stick with the front of the pack. We have been starting to shape up to where we want to be going into the conference championship.”
Trailing within close range was sophomore James Maniscalco, running a personal best 5k course time at 24:37.9 and finishing 23rd overall. Closing out the top five were freshmen Kabir Chavan and Angel Vicioso. Chavan showed early flashes of promise and was able to finish 37th at 24:55.2 while Vicioso fought valiantly, but failed to close the gap, ultimately finishing 55th with a 25:08.6.
On the women’s side, junior Mia Nahom and sophomore Randi Burr were UConn’s top finishers and a monumental part of their 118-point fourth place finish. Nahom finished second with a 21:15.7, while Burr finished 18th with a 21:48.5.
“Yesterday was a great day for many of us, compared to last year many of our times were over a minute faster, including myself,” Burr said. “The main game plan for all of was to go out strong for the first mile and stay confident racing at a faster pace. As a team we had a strong showing, especially with Mia [Nahom] racing incredible and our fifth, sixth and seventh runners all working together during the race to help us with our 5th scorer for our overall team score,” she said.
Senior Danielle Jordan was the Huskies’ third finisher at 22:18.3, for 31st overall. Coming in at fourth and fifth for UConn were sophomores Kate Delay and Celia Chacko. Delay finished 38th with a 22:25.1, while Chacko finished 41st clocking in at a 22:27.9. Freshman Caroline Webb landed just shy of the Huskies top five, finishing 49th at 22:38.1.
“The women had a great race from Mia [Nahom] upfront, and at the same time closed their gap 1-2, and 1-5,” head coach Greg Roy said. “The men also had a nice race upfront with Eric [Van Der Els] and Will [Brisman], and with a 47-second gap 1-5, looks like they’re progressing nicely,” Roy said.
Both teams look to maintain this momentum as they fine-tune preparations for the conference championships early November.
“The team has been responding well to the workouts and I believe that we can be even better with another big week of training before we head to Memphis,” Van Der Els, the team’s captain, said.
“We’re all excited to compete with the conference and know we have more to put out come next race,” he added.
The American Athletic Conference cross country championships takes place on Nov. 1 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Nicholas Martin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sebastian Garay-Ortega is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached at email@example.com. He tweets @sebastian__305.