What a start to the season for the UConn cross country team.
For the second straight year, the Huskies took home the team title at the Marist Invitational in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., finishing top dogs amongst seven qualifying teams. Connecticut took home the gold over schools like Hartford, Iona, Marist and Siena. This year, UConn also took home the individual title, with senior Caroline Webb setting a new personal record on the five-kilometer course. She finished with a time of 18:20.8.
“What a great opener at Marist, a great start for us,” said director of cross country and track and field Beth Alfond-Sullivan. “Certainly an opener for the teams running today and for us, we ran our freshman and sprinkled some upperclassmen into our lineup. Just really proud of our efforts,” said Alfond-Sullivan. “I thought we closed really well today and were a dominant pack out there.”
Those words certainly rang true, as the Huskies truly did lead the pack. Aside from Webb, a talented group of five freshmen placed in the top 10: Chloe Trudel, Calista Mayer, Megan Minicucci, Madelaine Sweeney and Loghan Hughes. All five finished the 5K in 19:03 or less in their collegiate debuts.
“Just a dominant win for Webb, and a new PR by over a minute,” Sullivan said. “Chloe had a tremendous race and her last mile was outstanding, really closed well. Calista, using her 800-meter speed at the end, closed really well. We are going to see a lot from this freshman class over their four years at UConn. They really showed great intensity and desire.”
Also finishing for the Huskies were Caroline Towle in 12th, Ally McCarthy in 22nd and Megan Perrota in 28th out of 69 finishers. With great depth and a ton of youth behind Webb, there’s plenty to be excited about in Storrs. Sullivan is in her first year as director as well, and it looks like the sky’s the limit for this crew.
Up next for UConn is the Providence Friar Invitational on Friday, home to this year’s Big East Tournament. The underclassmen on the team should get some great experience at the Mark Coogan Cross Country Course at Highland Park, prepping for another podium finish come late October. While the field has yet to be announced, the Huskies should get their first top-30 test, as Providence was voted the No. 15 team in the country this preseason. It will be the Friars’ first competition of the season.