Robinson, Card Win at Wisco
VERONA, Wis. – Making his season debut, Stanford junior Ky Robinson won the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational cross-country race on Friday and led the Cardinal men to a big victory over a strong field.
Three Stanford men placed among the top seven and all five scorers were in the top 30 as the Cardinal triumphed at this meet for the first time since 2012 and the second time overall. Among a field that included 12 of the top 14 ranked teams in the country, No. 2 Stanford scored 54 points to outpace No. 1 BYU (89) and No. 3 Northern Arizona (145) for the top spot. It's Stanford's second victory over defending champion NAU this season.
Robinson broke the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course record – since the course was altered in 2018 -- running 23:09.9 over 8 kilometers (4.97 miles).
The Cardinal women were paced by junior Zofia Dudek, also making her season debut. Dudek placed 16th and led No. 8 Stanford to seventh as a team, with 285 points. She covered the 6K (3.74-mile) course in 20:11.9.
Robinson, Charles Hicks, and Cole Sprout were part of a six-runner lead pack in the final kilometer that shrunk to four with 600 meters to go. Hicks took the lead in the final straightaway, only for NAU's Nico Young to respond with a surge of his own, overtaking Hicks, with Robinson in third.
"I didn't know how I was feeling toward the end," Robinson said. "I was struggling a little bit. Then, I felt a second wind. So, I thought I would try and give it a go."
The final push vaulted Robinson past Young for a 0.1-second victory. It was the second Stanford men's victory in this race, following Maksim Korolev's in 2014. Hicks took third in 23:17.2 and Sprout was seventh in 23:18.6.
Ky Robinson (left) and Charles Hicks down the stretch. Photo by David Hicks.
Devin Hart had a strong showing. Among the leaders for most of the race, Hart dropped off a bit, but gained five places over the final two kilometers.
At 6K, Stanford trailed BYU in the virtual team race, 53-73. But with Hart's effort, plus that of Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau, who gained 54 places over the final half of the race to finish 30th (23:36.1). At 2K, Beaudoin-Rousseau was in 121st place.
"The guys did a great job," Santos said. "Winning a big race like this is always great, especially when you beat so many great teams. Right now, we're happy with where we are with training and our performances, but we also know we have work to do as we head into the championship season."
It wasn't perfect. Thomas Boyden, typically Stanford's No. 4 runner, was stepped on 800 meters into the race and continued to run with a shoe halfway off and a cut on his heel. Boyden placed 119th.
Robinson opened the season on extended rest after a track season that lasted into August. Racing for his native Australia, Robinson was 19th overall in the 5,000 at the World Championships in Eugene and followed with sixth place in the 10,000 at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
When Stanford runners reported for cross country on Aug. 31, Robinson was not running. He eased into training and the plan all along was to open the season at Nuttycombe.
"Ky has been doing a great job," Santos said. "He's a hard worker and really dedicated. His fitness is coming around nicely. He's still not all the way there, but we still have time. He's in a good spot and coming into form."
Robinson, Hicks, and Sprout were among those leading a massive lead pack in the early going, but didn't like the slow early pace and began to push the pace at 2K, slowly thinning out the pack.
"That wasn't the plan, but I trust the guys and their race knowledge," Santos said.
Those three understand each other and communicate verbally and nonverbally during a race. And though thrilled with the individual victory, Robinson was even more happy with the team victory.
"The team title is more important to us," he said. "We have so many talented runners here and we know that we may not have performed as well as we've liked in the past. But this year we want to make a statement and show everyone what we can do."
The Cardinal women. Photo by David Hicks.
For the Stanford women, Dudek raced for the first time since the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships. She gained 13 places over the final 2K. Other big movers in that span were Lucy Jenks, who gained 27 spots to finish 58th, Audrey Suarez, who gained 31 to finish 65th, and Audrey DaDamio, who gained 22 to place 72nd.
Some Cardinal who were not on this trip will race at the Bronco Invitational at Sunnyvale's Baylands Regional Park on Saturday morning. With that, Stanford's regular season will be complete.
The next big target for the Cardinal is the Pac-12 Championships in Riverside, California, on Oct. 28, when Hicks will try to defend his conference title.
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Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational
At Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course
Winners and all Stanford
Men (8K, 4.97-mile)
Team leaders – 1, Stanford 54; 2, BYU 89; 3, Northern Arizona 145; 4, Air Force 149; 5, Notre Dame 186; 6, Tulsa 214; 7, Wisconsin 221; 8, Colorado 225; 9, Villanova 343; 10, North Carolina State 366.
Individuals – 1, Ky Robinson (Stanford) 23:09.9; 3, Charles Hicks (Stanford) 23:12.7; 7, Cole Sprout (Stanford) 23:18.6; 13, Devin Hart (Stanford) 23:26.0; 30, Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau (Stanford) 23:36.1; 101, Nolan Topper (Stanford) 24:03.8; 111, Robert DiDonato (Stanford) 24:07.5; 119, Thomas Boyden (Stanford) 24:11.4.
Stanford individuals – 8, Liam Anderson (Stanford) 24:22.8; 13, Zane Bergen (Stanford) 24:244; 62, Caleb Boutelle (Stanford) 25:03.5.
Women (6K, 3.73-mile)
Team leaders – 1, North Carolina State 80; 2, New Mexico 80; 3, Northern Arizona 244; 4, BYU 252; 5, Notre Dame 257; 6, North Carolina 280; 7, Stanford 285; 8, Utah 303; 9, Colorado 306; 10, Georgetown 310.
Individuals – 1, Katelyn Tuohy (N.C. St.) 19:44.3; 16, Zofia Dudek (Stanford) 20:11.9; 58, Lucy Jenks (Stanford) 20:35.2; 65, Audrey Suarez (Stanford) 20:37.5; 72, Audrey DaDamio (Stanford) 20:40.3; 74, Abi Archer (Stanford) 20:40.6; 76, Riley Stewart (Stanford) 20:42.0; 103, Grace Connolly (Stanford) 20:56.0.
Team – 3, Stanford 69.
Stanford individuals – 2, Melissa Tanaka (Stanford) 20:51.5; 15, Nicola Hogg (Stanford) 21:17.2; 18, Lily Flynn (Stanford) 21:21.0; 25, Ava Parekh (Stanford) 21:32.9; 40, Caroline Wells (Stanford) 21:49.5.