Fay, Gibson Pace Huskies At Wisconsin
MADISON, Wisc. – In its first races in three weeks, the Washington cross country squads showed a lot of progress and got some key head to head wins in the biggest and deepest meet of the regular season, the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. Led by top-40 individual finishes from Brian Fay and Anna Gibson, the Huskies finished 15th on the men's side and 16th on the women's side at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course.
The huge fields had well over half of the teams currently ranked in the USTFCCCA Top-30 on each starting line. The men's field had 18 of the top-30 teams racing, and the women's field had 23 of the top-30.
The Husky women's team finished ahead of eight ranked squads including No. 14 Arkansas, No. 17 Michigan State, No. 18 Michigan, No. 19 Utah Valley, No. 22 Colorado State, No. 24 Florida State, No. 24 Furman, and No. 30 Harvard, and UW was just four points behind No. 16 Providence and nine points behind No. 15 Syracuse.
Gibson led the women in 39th-place in 20:26. Freshman Sophia Nordenholz then placed 94th in 20:51 and Andrea Markezich and freshman Ella Borsheim were a second apart at 119th and 120th in 21-minutes flat. Sophie O'Sullivan capped the scoring in 144th-place. Carley Thomas finished 170th and Madison Heisterman was 198th. Freshman Chloe Foerster was 212th today.
Prior to the women's championship race, Naomi Smith got her season started running in the women's B race, and she was 11th overall. All-Pac-12 performer Haley Herberg traveled with the team but did not make her debut today.
"We certainly got what we came for today," said Director of Track & Field Maurica Powell on the women's team. "But we leave unsatisfied with a poorly executed race by our older women, and we really needed them to off-set what is always a big learning opportunity for the freshmen. We'll get back to work for a better team performance in two weeks. Happy to have Haley and Naomi with us for Pac-12s."
The men's team beat out six ranked squads today with the help of Fay's season debut. Washington got head to head wins over No. 11 Iowa State, No. 14 Gonzaga, No. 20 Harvard, No. 23 Utah State, No. 27 Michigan State, and No. 28 Georgetown. The Dawgs were just 14 points from catching 10th-ranked North Carolina.
Fay, the 2021 All-American in cross, opened his season with a 34th-place finish in 23:37. He moved up at every split, from 96th at the 2k mark, to 57th at the halfway point, then 46th at 6k and 34th at the finish.
Isaac Green also moved up throughout, from 104th, to 77th, to 57th, and finishing in 52nd in 23:47. Luke Houser was the third Husky finisher in 73rd in 23:56. Sam Affolder came through in 114th in 24:09, and Joe Waskom capped the scoring in 128th in 24:14. Leo Daschbach had his first run since last fall, and was 150th in 24:23. Ed Trippas placed 196th today and Sam Ellis was 212th.
"It was good to have everyone back healthy and it was a bit of a conservative effort but all in all it was a solid day," said Head Coach Andy Powell. "Brian and Isaac ran really well, great to have Leo back. We were a little banged up at the start of the season so we're going to have to improve here in the next month if we want to make Nationals. But I'm optimistic that we can do it."