The UConn women’s cross country team travels to Boston today as they bid for a spot at the NCAA National Championship. Led by outgoing senior standout Mia Nahom, the Huskies look to improve on their last showing at the NCAA Regional Championship which saw them finishing 9th.
“For regionals the strategy is the same, we’ll just have to find each other and move up.” Nahom said.
High off their finish ahead of Providence at the Big East Championship two weeks ago, UConn will have to fend off stiff competition from No. 17 Syracuse, coming into regionals as the top team in the Northeast. In what would be a first in program history, a confident coach Lindsay Crevoiserat has no doubts in the teams’ chances of clinching a berth to the National Championship as one of the two automatic qualifiers.
“The common factor in the field among Providence, Syracuse and us is that we’re all top 30 teams, we’ve beaten both teams before so it’s going to come down to which team has the best day,” said Crevoiserat. “This is a big field so once we get up front, we just need to find Syracuse and Providence and just hunt, since we’re better when we can see our competition,” she said.
The Huskies have had a commendable season following a strong start at their first meet, the Marist Invitational in September, which saw the team taking the top spot out of seven. UConn also secured a win at the Ken O’Brien Minuteman Invitational and had top five finishes at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown and the recently concluded Big East Championship.
Following her conference honors-earning performance in Carmel, Ind., freshman Chloe Thomas has gotten a confidence boost ahead of Regionals. “I’m really looking forward to Regionals this Friday. It’s a great opportunity for myself and the team to showcase the training and work we’ve been putting in together since August,” she said. “Before Big Easts, Coach Lindsay and I decided on a strategy that worked really well for me, so having that strategy in my back pocket gives me a lot of confidence for our upcoming race,” she said.
UConn goes into the Regional Championship ranked third, behind Syracuse and Providence, who are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. The top five is completed by former champions Harvard and Yale, who are ranked No. 4 and No. 5 respectively.
Qualification for next weekend’s National Championship will see the top two teams from each of the nine regions getting an automatic spot to line up against an additional 13 teams, which will be selected through a process that includes a review of regular-season competition and finish at the Regional Championships.
Seniors Randi Burr, Melissa Zammitti and Celia Chacko will line up for the Huskies, as well as sophomores Caroline Towle and Jenna Zydanowicz.
This year’s championship is being held at Franklin Park in Boston, with the Women’s 6K race scheduled for 11 a.m.