Oct. 16, 2009
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - The UConn women's cross country team finished in ninth place at the Penn State National Invitational on Friday afternoon at the Lock Haven Cross Country Course in Lock Haven, Pa.
After the race was originally cancelled due to the storm in the area, Penn State officials relocated the race to Lock Haven University later in the afternoon.
The Huskies finished in ninth place behind nationally-ranked West Virginia (No. 3), Penn State (No. 16), Providence (No. 25) and Northeast Region favorites Boston College and Cornell.
Sophomore Christine Vogel was the Huskies' top finisher at 36th place, while BIG EAST Women's Athlete of the Week, Sara Leslie, finished second for the Huskies in 48th place. Freshman Megan Jacoby rounded out the top-three finishers for UConn.
West Virginia took first place at the Penn State National with Penn State and Providence taking second and third place, respectively.
"We are very pleased with today's results," said distance coach Andrea Grove-McDonough. "We had a few kids show some nice things out there and our spread from 1-5 was around 44 seconds which is great. Christine Vogel deserves a ton of credit for what she did out on the course today. Here's a kid who had been flying a bit under the radar this season and shows up today and runs a clear #1 for us. Just an awesome day for her and I couldn't be more proud of her.
"It was great to see the team bounce back so well after a disappointing result at the New England Championship - it really speaks to the character and heart of this group," added McDonough. "We knew we were so much better than that race showed - even without our #1 runner."
"If you look at how we stacked up against a great University of Penn team today that finished seventh recently at the prestigious Paul Short Invitational in Lehigh Pa., beating out teams like Tennessee (ninth), cross country power Richmond (10th), Quinnipiac (16) and Dartmouth (18)- it really backs that up," said McDonough.
UConn standout sophomore Courtney Dinnan began the 2009 season as the Huskies' top finisher in the first three races, but did not compete at the New England Championship or the Penn State National on Friday.
"Knowing we would be without Courtney again this weekend we knew we needed to challenge the team to elevate their performance and stop the bleeding a little bit," said McDonough. "We are hoping to have her back into the line-up for the BIG EAST Championship but it's a `wait and see' kind of thing.
"The entire team deserves a hand for how well they handled themselves given all the uncertainty and craziness surrounding the meet today," added McDonough. "It was a real mess out on the course and with the start time, location, everything changing on the fly - they just were very composed and matter of fact about it all - and it showed in their performance."
The Huskies now look toward the BIG EAST Championship in two weeks as the conference continues to grow on its talent and strength as it has at least six teams in the top-30 in the nation.