This Friday, the UConn women’s cross country team is set to travel east for a challenge at the Providence Friar Cross Country Invite. The race will take place in Attleboro, Massachussetts at the Mark Coogan Course, less than a half hour away from the Friars’ campus. The Huskies come off a stellar first meet that saw them take first place as a team in the Suffolk Short Course Classic. They beat Northeastern, the No. 5 team in the region, despite sitting two spots lower at No. 7.
In the warm-up 3K, Northeastern’s Natasha Sortland took home first individually, but was mobbed by Connecticut’s runners. There were five Huskies in the race and they placed in second, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh.
Malin Rahm led UConn’s effort and only trailed Sortland by a mere three seconds. She notched a time of 10:48.6, an exceptional way to start the year. Although Rachael Woodruff took home fifth, she finished in second place for her 1500m time within the race, less than a tenth of a second off of Keira Gamily. That mark doesn’t count towards the scoresheet, it’s still an encouraging figure that illustrates her skills.
The Huskies have shown they can thrive on a 3K course, but now they’ll take things up a notch, racing a 5K. And not only is the race longer, the competition will be tougher. The invite brings in three nearby foes for Connecticut with
, SUNY Stony Brook, New Hampshire and the host, Providence.
The Friars are the top team in the northeast region and rank No. 14 nationally, posing a stiff challenge for UConn. Providence boasts two returners who ran at the 2022 NCAA championships, Lilly Tuck and Kimberley May. Tuck won last year’s Friar Invite and finished sixth in the Big East championship.
Stony Brook is also recognized regionally, as No. 13 in the preseason poll. Grace Weigele is their best runner, finishing atop the Stony Brook season opener. She raced in the Friar Invite last year and placed eighth. She looks to build on that effort this year, especially after placing seventh at the CAA championship last fall.
New Hampshire is the only unranked team of the bunch and finished third at the Maine Black Bear Invitational this past weekend. Regional No. 11 Army ran away with the invitational, blowing out the field with five of the top seven slots. New Hampshire’s Jill Walker emerged with a third place finish, but no other Wildcat managed to break the top 10.
With so much tough competition in the Invite, expect an exciting race. Runners will start at 3:15 p.m.