Despite running with a limited roster, the UConn women’s cross country team impressed at the Providence Friar Invitational on the Mark Coogan Cross Country Course in Attleboro, Mass., placing second out of five teams. Not only was the race a great preview for the postseason, as Providence will also be hosting the Big East Championship this year, but the Huskies got great experience running alongside conference foes, Providence and Xavier.
In her first race of the year, junior Jenna Zydanowicz made quite the impact for Connecticut, placing third overall in the field. She finished the 5K in just 17:42:92. Also placing in the top 10 in their first run of the year were graduate student Randi Burr and junior Rachel Woodruff, who finished in 18:21:51 and 18:27:51, respectively.
“The Huskies had a great day previewing the Big East course at Providence,” said director of track & field and cross country Beth Alford-Sullivan. “We ran tough on a challenging course and hot conditions. Jenna Zydanowicz competed well, closing the race down on the last mile to finish third.”
Last week’s winner of the Marist Invitational, the Huskies’ Caroline Webb, finished 13th in this week’s field with a time of 18:32:89. The next UConn finishers were a plethora of underclassmen, including freshmen Megan Minicucci, Chloe Trudel and Calista Mayer, as well as sophomore Madison Relyea. This quartet added to Connecticut’s depth this weekend, all finishing in the top 22 in less than 19:04.
This is the second top-2 finish for the Huskies of the early season, having won the Marist Invitational to kick off the year. Without Zydanowicz, Burr and Woodruff competing then, UConn still took care of business, showcasing their depth against Marist, Iona, Hartford, Siena, Manhattan and Felician. This week, Providence came out on top, but Connecticut still placed over teams like Big East foe Xavier, Stony Brook and New Hampshire.
“Our team continues to impress in these early season races on top of high volume weeks of miles and hard training,” said Alford-Sullivan. “Congrats to the Providence team on the win and we look forward to competing for a championship on their course!”
Originally selected at No. 4 in the Northeast Region of the USTFCCCA Preseason Regional Cross Country Coaches’ Rankings, the Huskies look to improve upon this mark after a successful two weeks. They look to stay towards the top of the Northeast this weekend, when they are set to run at the Iona Meet of Champions at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y.