(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – No. 30 BYU women’s cross country will compete against 21 of the nation's top 30 teams at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational Friday morning.
The Cougars enter this meet after a successful showing two weeks ago at the Notre Dame Invitational. BYU finished fourth and made its season debut the following week in the national rankings at No. 30.
“What an opportunity we have in front of us,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “If we can finish in the top 14 to 15, it would be a highly successful meet.”
A successful race against the most challenging field to date will require a complete team effort, specifically from the top-five finishers. Redshirt freshman and Gilbert, Arizona, native Kristi Rush could play an important role come Friday.
Rush is coming off a personal-best performance at the Notre Dame Invitational, placing sixth for BYU and 71st overall. True freshman Alyssa Steed, like Rush also ran a personal best.
“We probably started too slow at Notre Dame,” Rush said. “But Alyssa and I decided to move up pretty early and we made some serious progress passing people. I know I felt really good and in my mind my race felt right.”
The Notre Dame Invitational was a meet that Coach Shane said played a major role in getting to nationals last season. Shane hopes the strong performance at Notre Dame this season will once again serve as momentum for the ever-important Wisconsin meet.
“Notre Dame was definitely a confidence-booster,” Rush said. ”You always want to improve obviously. You always want to get better, but my confidence is definitely higher.”
So far this season the Cougars have relied heavily on Andrea Nelson Harrison, Carrie Jube, Jennica Redd and Makenna Smith. If Rush and Steed continue to improve and build off their Notre Dame performances, BYU will have the depth to knock off opponents currently ranked higher.
“Facing all the ranked teams just makes me excited because I know that the more people we beat, the higher ranked we can get,” Rush said. “We are racing against the people we need to be racing against to make our statement and prove that we can do well at nationals.”
Last season, led by Andrea Nelson Harrison and Natalie Shields, the Cougars finished 24th overall. However, Shane believes they have the potential to do much better this time around.
“If we can go out and execute our race plans individually and as a team, we can place in the top 15,” Shane said.
This will be the sixth annual Wisconsin Adidas Invitational held at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course. The first race begins at 11:00 a.m. CDT. There will be an “A” race and a “B” race. The Twitter handle @Badger_Track will be live tweeting the race. The hashtag for the meet will be #adidasinvite. Live results can be found following this link from the University of Wisconsin's website.
BYU "A" race representatives: Andrea Nelson Harrison, Carrie Jube, Jennica Redd, Makenna Smith, Alyssa Steed, Kristi Rush and Kelsey Brown
BYU "B" race representatives: Shea Martinez, McKenzie Weir, Marren Haneberg, Hannah Albrechtsen, Emily Allen, Monica Huston and Brooke Smyth.