The UConn men’s and women’s cross country teams are confident in their abilities to make an impact at the American Athletic Conference Championship in Memphis.
Leading the men are junior captain Eric Van Der Els and sophomore Will Brisman, expected to be the Huskies’ top two finishers at Friday’s event, looking to lead from the front of the pack.
“Clearly Eric and Will have their sights set on top 10 finishes. They know they need to be in position by two miles to be able to do that,” men’s head coach Greg Roy said.
Sophomore James Maniscalco and junior Josh Bedard will also look to make an impact in the early and late stages of the race.
“Maniscalco is the wild card. He finishes better than anybody on the team, and has shown that he is interested in being up front,” Roy said. “Bedard has shown he can contribute early as well.”
Moreover, Roy trusts his young freshmen—notably Kabir Chavan and Angel Vicioso—to have a big impact on the outcome of the race.
“We have a bunch of freshmen ready to make a difference; they have all shown the willingness to get their noses bloody,” Roy said.
On the women’s side, head coach Lindsey Crevoiserat expressed the need to make the gap between Mia Nahom and the other runners smaller in order for them to have any chance of coming out of Memphis with a good result.
“They need to get out faster, work together, and see if they can close in on the rest of the group,” Crevoiserat said.
To do this, those behind Nahom will have to come out aggressive, specifically sophomore Randi Burr and senior Danielle Jordan. Crevoiserat asserted the confidence they have in their abilities, while Burr ensured the times they have been hitting at practice over the past week are a reflection of what is to come on Friday.
“Under our training we have all been hitting great times, and we are using that as momentum going into conference,” Burr said.
Both teams will be looking to improve on last year’s results; the men finished third behind Tulsa and Temple, while the women finished fifth behind SMU, Temple, Tulsa and Wichita State.
“We have put in the work all season, and I’m excited to see how we match up against the competition,” Van Der Els said.
The men’s 8k is expected to start at 11 a.m., while the women will run the 6k course at 11:50 a.m.
Sebastian Garay-Ortega is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @sebastian__305.