October 14, 2016
At the 2016 Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Friday in Madison, Wis., No. 1 Northern Arizona lived up to its top cross country ranking with a resounding victory in the men’s race, while the No. 4 Washington women upset No. 1 Providence and No. 3 NC State. NAU’s 78-point total was the meet’s lowest score on the men’s side since Wisconsin dropped 66 in 2011, while Washington rode the performances of Amy-Eloise Neale (4th, 20:05.7) and Charlotte Prouse (20:08.5) to beat NC State, 124-166.
Individually, Syracuse’s Justyn Knight moved up one spot from his 2015 finish to win the men’s race in 23:53.1 thanks to a savage kick (MB: Justyn Knight will win NCAA D1 Cross Country Nationals). With her teammate and defending champion Allie Ostrander hurt (details here), Boise State sophomore Brenna Peloquin claimed top honors in the women’s race, pulling away in the homestretch to win in 20:00.8 on a windy day in the Heartland.
Below you’ll find a recap and analysis of the women’s race; we’ve got a separate men’s recap here.
Talk about the race on our fan forum / messageboard: MB: Official 2016 Wisco/Pre-Nats Discussion Thread
From a team standpoint, the Washington women went out hard and grabbed a big early lead that they never relinquished. They had their biggest lead at the 2k split (71 to UCLA’s 223). At 4k, their lead was 61 as NC State had moved into second (85 to 146). Over the final 2k, NC State would get closer but Washington ended up winning 124 to 166. Washington had a little room for error as well as they put all seven runners (only one of whom is a senior, #3 and #5 are freshman) in the top 50 and two in the top five.
|Winning Wisco Times Over The Last 5 Years|
Individually, the pace was slow (see table at right) which wasn’t a surprise given the wind was gusting to 25 mph. Over the final 800, it turned into a battle between three women who were all in the top 10 at NCAAs last year – New Mexico junior Alice Wright (5th at NCAAs last year), Notre Dame sophomore Anna Rohrer (6th at NCAAs last year), and Peloquin (9th at NCAAs last year).
Peloquin ended up winning the battle for the title between the top three returners from NCAAs last year that have competed so far in 2016 (neither 2015 runner-up Ostrander nor 2015 7th placer Allie Buchalski of Furman has competed in XC this year).
Team Results and Top 10 Individuals (full results here)
|Place||Team (National Rank)||Points|
|2||NC State (#3)||166|
|4||New Mexico (#11)||207|
|6||San Francisco (#19)||258|
|8||Iowa State (#26)||309|
|9||Notre Dame (#28)||313|
|18||Boise State (#10)||404|
|19||Michigan State (#6)||439|
|23||Weber State (unranked)||588|
|24||Northern Arizona (unranked)||590|
|26||Florida State (unranked)||606|
|27||Boston College (unranked)||644|
|30||North Carolina (unranked)||766|
1 1 118 Brenna Peloquin SO Boise State 6:54 13:46 20:00.8 5:23 2 2 238 Alice Wright JR New Mexico 6:54 13:45 20:01.9 5:23 3 3 277 Anna Rohrer SO Notre Dame 6:54 13:46 20:03.4 5:23 4 4 415 Amy-Eloise Neale JR Washington 6:54 13:47 20:05.7 5:24 5 5 417 Charlotte Prouse SO Washington 6:54 13:45 20:08.5 5:25 6 6 175 Courtney Smith JR Harvard 6:54 13:46 20:09.2 5:25 7 7 250 Erika Kemp SR North Carolina St. 6:57 13:47 20:15.9 5:27 8 8 124 Isabelle Kennedy SO Boston College 6:54 13:46 20:17.6 5:27 9 9 237 Calli Thackery SR New Mexico 6:54 13:46 20:19.8 5:28 10 10 317 Charlotte Taylor SR San Francisco 6:55 13:46 20:22.2 5:28
Quick Take #1: A Look at the Surprises and Flops in The Women’s Team Race
The Baylor women were a big positive surprise. The 21st-ranked Bears finished 5th overall in a field that included 17 ranked teams and six other teams receiving votes. Other teams that did better than expected included No. 11 New Mexico (finished 4th), No. 19 San Francisco (finished 6th) and No. 23 Utah (finished 7th).
The Michigan State women and Boise State women disappointed. No. 6 Michigan State was the 4th-highest ranked team coming in but they only finished 19th today. No. 10 Boise State was just one spot better in 18th. Much of Boise State’s disappointment is easy to pinpoint. Allie Ostrander, didn’t run. Had she run and finished up front, Boise State would have scored 270 and been 7th.
Quick Take #2: A big win for Washington, who could be good for a while
Washington has just one senior (fourth woman Kaylee Flanagan) among its top seven, and with two potential low sticks in Amy-Eloise Neale and Charlotte Prouse and enviable depth, the Huskies will be very dangerous at NCAAs.
As big as today’s win was, we’ll get a better indication of Washington’s national title chances at Pac-12s, where it will face three other top-10 teams in No. 2 Colorado, No. 7 Stanford and No. 9 Oregon, all of whom are racing Pre-Nats tomorrow. The Pac-12 meet is set to go down on October 28 in Tucson and it should be a barnburner.
Quick Take #3: Brenna Peloquin is the NCAA favorite (for now)
Peloquin got a big win over Michigan’s Erin Finn at Roy Griak and showed that was no fluke by taking down a stacked field today in Madison. Peloquin still has room to improve as she told Flotrack after the race that she lost track of where she was on the course and only started to kick with 800 to go as she thought she had more time to make her move.
She has to be regarded as the NCAA favorite at the moment, but that could change as soon as tomorrow. Colorado’s Erin Clark is coming off a huge performance at the Rocky Mountain Shootout, where she ran 19:54 to become only the third woman to break 20:00 on that course. The other two? Jenny Simpson, who did it two months after breaking the American record in the steeplechase in 2009, and Kara Goucher, who did it twice in 2000, when she went on to win the NCAA title. Granted both Simpson (19:25) and Goucher (19:38 twice) ran significantly faster than Clark, but if Clark wins Pre-Nats convincingly (she’s the defending champ), she has to be considered a threat for the individual title.
We’re not ruling out Wright, Rohrer or Finn, either. Recall that last year Ostrander broke away from Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel to win Wisconsin only for Seidel to turn the tables on her at NCAAs.
Quick Take #4: Providence may have to make do with what they have
Providence rolled to wins at the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown and Notre Dame without 2015 All-Americans Catarina Rocha and Sam Jones, leading to a No. 1 ranking in the coaches’ poll. They were third today, and if the Friars are to climb to the top, they’ll have to do it without Rocha (whom coach Ray Treacy said is redshirting). Jones, who has battled knee and IT band issues, did race for the first time today, but she was far from her 2015 form as she was only 38th in the open race.