The Massachusetts cross-country team will be back in action this week when it travels to the Boston College Invitational in Chestnut Hill, Mass. There, the team will face off against BC, Rhode Island, Albany, Boston University and New Hampshire. This will be the first year that the Minutewomen will also compete in the invitational.
Sophomore Jillian King leads the Eagles, and had a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Regional Championships. King consistently paced BC last year, finishing as their top runner in four of their eight competitions. She is joined by her sister, senior Caroline King, who was the lead runner in two events, including last year’s UMass Invitational. Fellow sophomores Allison Stasiuk and Elizabeth Hynes both finished in first place for BC in one event apiece.
The Rams finished in 12th place at the A-10 Championships last season and return their best competitors from last season. The star performer for Rhode Island is sophomore Niamh Ryan. Ryan was a two-time A-10 Rookie of the Week selection last season. Other notable runners for the Rams include senior Mary Najarian and Caitrin Demchko, who both finished respectively in several races last year.
Albany was the fifth-ranked team in the America East conference last year and was ranked sixth in the preseason poll released last month by the America East coaches. They are paced by Ada Lauterbach, who finished first for Albany in all but one race last season. At the Monmouth XC Kick-Off held on Sept. 4, she finished fourth. Albany’s top finisher in that race was Kathryn Fanning who finished second overall.
Boston University was picked fourth in the America East preseason poll this year. They received one first-place vote in the poll. Last year, the team finished 21st in the NCAA Regional Championships. Katie Matthews is the top runner for the Terriers, finishing eighth in the American East Championships and 34th at the regional championships.
New Hampshire is the most decorated of the teams in this competition. They are ranked 10th overall by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in the Northeast region. They were also picked second in the America East preseason poll, finishing 11th at the NCAA Northeast Regionals last year.
This is stiff competition for the Minutewomen, but redshirt senior Shiyi Zan will lead UMass into competition. She was named to both Academic All-District and Academic All-Conference teams before this upcoming season. She placed in each of the five races that UMass competed in last year and was the team’s second-place finisher four times. She is also co-captain of the team.
The men’s team begins its season on Sept. 18, with a meet in Amherst, at which the Minutewomen will also compete.
Ben Lambert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.