STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut women's cross country team opened the 2014 campaign on a high note at Lights Out Invitational on Friday night in Reading, Pa. The Huskies claimed 10 of the top 11 spots in the 4K race, including a first-place finish by redshirt-senior captain Lauren Sara.
Sara, who missed the 2013 season due to injury, crossed the finish line in 12:50, running at a stellar 5:10 pace. Freshman Alana Pearl posted a third-place finish in her collegiate debut (13:46), followed by Liz Lagoy (13:47), Abby Mace (13:49). Emily Howard (13:50), Lisa Zimmer (13:57), Maggie Christe (13:59), Laura Williamson (14:11), Katie Foley (14:13) and Terra Briody (14:24).
"It was exciting to be back out there with the team and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season," said Sara." The girls all looked strong and worked well together."
For Foley, the event marked her first-ever cross country appearance after enjoying a successful high school track career at Trumbull.
"It was different but fun being under the lights and running with my team around me," said the freshman.
Cross country head coach Amy Begley and women's track and field coach J.J. Clark traveled with the team to Pennsylvania and were encouraged by the results on a mild evening that was recorded at 65 degrees.
"It was great to have Lauren Sara back in the lineup," said Begley. "This race was shorter than usual and under the lights which added some fun to our first race back. However, it still gave us an indication of where the team is starting. We are really pleased with how the freshmen have started the year."
The Huskies will take a 15-day break before returning to action at the Minutemen Invite in Amherst, Mass. In 2013, the Huskies claimed second place at the event with 55 points. All of Connecticut's student-athletes posted personal bests in the tough hilly course and each runner finished the race under 19 minutes.