The University of Connecticut’s cross country team takes center stage at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational today. Marking their return to the marquee event for the first time since 2012, seven Huskies are slated to line up in the women’s 6K on the Thomas Zimmer Championship XC Course. Featuring the top XC teams in the nation, the meet promises to be a test of the Huskies’ readiness for the Big East Championships in two weeks.
“This meet is pretty much a preview of nationals, so you want to go to this meet to determine where you are and learn how to race with tons of talented runners and also with a lot of people around you,” head coach Lindsay Crevoiserat said.
Slipping a few places in the National Coaches Poll to No. 26, the Huskies will face competition from 16 of the top 25 teams in the country. Despite this, UConn is treating the invitational as a learning experience while getting a feel for running with a national-caliber field.
“It’s easy to run with a few really good teams,” Crevoiserat said. “But this is more of a practice of how to run with this many teams, so if we do make nationals we will know how to get off the line with this kind of field and how to navigate through a field of this much depth.”
Fully recovered from their fourth-place finish at the recent Coast-to-Coast Beantown Battle in Boston, the Huskies are led by top program seeds Mia Nahom and Chloe Thomas, who placed 10th and 12th, respectively, in the women’s Beantown Battle 5K.
“[Thomas] and Mia are a great duo,” Crevoiserat said. “They run great and I think their last race was a 5K, and this one is a 6K which I think is better for our team.”
Also among the Huskies are Melissa Zammitti, Randi Burr, Jenna Żydanowicz and Celia Chacko, and according to Coach Crevoiserat, the key is sticking together and moving up.
“First of all, I think the biggest thing is to believe we belong there,” she said. “And second of all, we need to get out hard. Chloe and Mia need to find each other, and Melissa, Randi and Celia need to find each other and work their way up.”
The meet will also feature two of UConn’s top Big East rivals, Providence and Villanova, who are ranked No. 19 and No. 20, respectively.