The eyes of the collegiate cross country world focused on Franklin Park back on September 27th when the Boston College womenâ€™s team held their invitational (The Coast To Coast Battle in Beantown). Wisconsin was one of many strong programs to make that trip, and this weekend they return the favor by hosting many of the nationâ€™s top programs at their Wisconsin Adidas Invitational.
The menâ€™s championship 8k race will take place at 11:00 am tomorrow morning, followed by the womenâ€™s championship 6k at noon. Hereâ€™s a preview of both, with a focus on the northeast teams venturing out west.
The Menâ€™s Race
The menâ€™s race goes off first, and it should be a good one. Last year it was won by Stanford, with Lawi Lalang (Arizona) taking the individual honors in 23:03. Stanford is not coming back to defend their title, but Lalang is back and he is in fact racing tomorrow:
The menâ€™s field contains 36 teams, and the highest ranking teams in attendance are: Northern Arizona (3), BYU (5), and Arkansas (6). The teams venturing out there from deep within the heart of Level Legion are Columbia (8), Providence (17),Â Dartmouth (27), Harvard, and UMass.
The Womenâ€™s Race
After the men are finished warming up the course for the ladies (like true gentlemen), the 37 team field will get to it. In 2012, Iowa State won it as a team with Cal Poly freshman Laura Hollander capturing the individual crown in 19:33. The 25th ranked Iowa State team is coming back, but Cal Poly isnâ€™t. By default, there will be a new individual champion. Who could it be?
Abbey Dâ€™Agostino of Dartmouth is probably the front runner for this. Not really going out on a limb there, are we? Abbey looked real good in winning the Paul Short Invitational in downright crappy conditions (excessive heat and humidity) and is poised for a big year. The Providence College trio of Emily Sisson, Laura Nagel and Sarah Collins were quite impressive in taking three of the top four spots at the aforementioned Battle in Beantown. Collins herself took 6th in this race last year as a freshmen. Breaking up that PC trio was Liv Westphal of Boston College.
As far as the womenâ€™s teams go, Providence (1), Arizona (3) and Duke (4) are the top ranked teams in the field. The big guns are really showing up for this one. Representing our corner of the map are PC (1), BC (22), Harvard, Dartmouth, Columbia, UConn, Stony Brook and Yale.
Possibly most exciting is that there will be a live stream available via Flotrack. Not sure if thatâ€™s free or part of their premium service, but is probably worth looking into if youâ€™re near a computer and are overcome with XC Fever. Remember, XC Fever is contagious so try to spread it as much as possible.