The UConn men’s and women’s cross-country teams both completed their regular seasons on Friday and now have 12 days until the American Athletic Conference Championships but despite this connection the two teams have two very different mindsets.
The women found themselves in Pennsylvania competing in the Rothenberg Run where they would eventually come away with another team first-place finish.
“We had our best run of the season,” UConn head Coach J.J. Clark said, according to UConn Athletics. “We had a great blend of upperclassmen and freshmen working together to put out a good team effort.”
Six runners finished inside the top 10 for UConn as they came away with 16 points, all but earning a perfect score on the afternoon. This is the third time the Huskies have come away with a team first-place finish on the season.
The top of the leaderboard was smeared with blue, white and red. UConn was led by junior Haley Hasty who earned first-place in the Rothenburg Run with a time of 17:24. Behind Hasty were two more Huskies, freshmen Brianna O’Brien and Mia Nahom, who came in second and third place with a shared time of 17:24. Junior Courtney Akerley followed close behind with a time of 17:30 to earn fourth place and close out the top-five. The top 10 included two more UConn runners: sophomore Danielle Jordan placed in sixth with a time of 17:31 and freshman Rachel Vick placed in seventh with a time of 17:38.
Unlike the women, the men found their weekend to be extremely disappointing. Going into the weekend, coach Roy set the expectations high.
“Our goal is to win at the Rothenberg and be among the top ten teams in Wisconsin. If we can do that, we are a top-20 team in the country,” Roy said, according to UConn Athletics. Based off those standards, the team had a wake-up call on the cusp of the American Athletic Conference Championships.
The men competed in two races over the weekend and the results were unable to meet the bar that Roy set. At the Nuttycombe Invitational in Wisconsin, the Huskies placed 35th out of 36 teams, only defeating Providence. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the invitational was dominated by the No. 1 team in the nation, Northern Arizona.
UConn finished with a score of 50 points, which was 73 points fewer than second-place Portland. The Huskies had a team average time of 23:50 which was 13 seconds faster than the 24:03 put up by the same Portland team. Syracuse would come in third-place while fellow American school Tulsa would come in 32nd.
Redshirt, junior Patrick Begley led the Huskies with a time of 24:35 which would be 80th among all runners on the day. Senior captain Mike O’Donnell came in 138th place with a time of 24:58 and redshirt junior Michael McGonnigle came in 189th place with a time of 25:23 to cap off the Husky finisher that were in the top-200.
“The race had 20 of the top 30 teams in the country competing and it was marginally less competitive than the NCAA Championship,” Roy said. “It was a tough finish in our first competition of the season at this level. Patrick is getting really close to being a penetrator and Mike was aggressive and paid a price in the middle of the race,” according to UConn Athletics.
On Friday, the Huskies also competed in the Rothenburg Run in Warwick, Rhode Island, where they came in third-place of the five teams that competed. Brown came in first, Vermont came in second, with Rhode Island and Bryant in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
The pack was led by a trio of runners in the top-10: junior PJ Garmon in fourth at a time of 25:10, sophomore James Mas with a time of 25:18 in seventh and senior Parker Timmerman at 25:21 in 10th.
The UConn men and women will return to action in 12 days on Saturday, Oct. 28 in the American Athletic Conference Championship in Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Kenny Beardsley is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.