On Friday, the UConn cross country team joined 41 other schools in the Arturo Barrios Invitational in College Station, Texas to wrap up the regular season. Connecticut had placed in the top five of every race they competed in and looked to make a statement in their final race before the Big East Championship.
Out of the 400 runners that lined up for the 6k event, four Huskies placed in the top 60 to propel the team to an imposing fifth-place finish out of 42 schools. UConn tallied 215 points and finished behind Ohio State (214), Boston College (206), UCLA (188) and the event winner, Utah Valley (97).
Junior superstar Chloe Thomas continues to lead the Huskies and emerge as one of the best runners in the Big East after delivering another impressive showing. Thomas ran a 19:49 6k and was the first UConn runner to cross the finish line, placing seventh overall.
Coming in just behind Thomas was senior Jenna Zydanowicz, who was the eleventh runner to cross the finish line with her 19:57 race time. Top-15 finishes have been no surprise for the dynamic duo of Thomas and Zyandowicz, as this was the third occurrence where both runners placed in the top 15 in a race.
Senior Caroline Towle contributed significantly for the Huskies with her best race of the season, setting a personal record and finishing 34th overall with a time of 20:25. Malin Rahm had the seventh-best time among freshmen and was the fourth Husky to cross the finish line with a time of 20:47.
Taking first place across the entire field of 400 was freshman phenom Juliet Cherubet of Texas Tech, finishing with a time of 19:20. Last year’s event winner, Ohio State, had their dangerous junior tandem of Addie Engel and Daniella Santos place second and third with times of 19:34 and 19:43 respectively. Rounding out the rest of the top-five was Anastasia Chepkorir of Texas Tech (19:45) and UT-Arlington’s Matro Jepkemboi (19:49).
UConn finished the regular season with top-five finishes in all four of their races. The Huskies opened the season with a first-place finish in the Suffolk Short Classic and followed that up with a second-place effort in the Providence Friar Invitational. In their previous race, Connecticut placed fifth in the Battle in Beantown before concluding the season with another top-five placement in their biggest race of the season.
Next up for the program is the Big East Championship on Saturday, Oct. 28 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After finishing third in the event last year, Connecticut will be amongst the favorites to win the event after an outstanding regular season.