UMass cross country set for BC Invite

By Frank Corona

Jeff Bernstein/Daily Collegian

This Friday, the Massachusetts women’s cross country team will go up against some of the best competition in the country at the Boston College Invite.

The Minutewomen will face off against top-ranked Providence, reigning champion Oregon and regional powerhouses Cornell and host school Boston College.
Despite the stiff competition, this meet is not one that is going to intimidate the team, according to UMass coach Julie LaFreniere.

“We’re used to seeing extremely strong programs,” LaFreniere said. “We’re just aiming for the end of the season, it’s what you do in November that matters.”

LaFreniere, along with redshirt junior Alexandra Purdue-Smithe, are both excited about the team’s season-opening performance.

“The bar is definitely set high for the next meet but we’re excited,” Purdue-Smithe said. “I feel like we have incredible momentum to carry us through the season and onto the A-10 championship.”

The team finished fourth in its home opener two weekends ago, but the whole team was satisfied with its ability to keep pace with the other schools.

“If we have the same attitude we walked away with last meet, I think we’ll all be happy, including Julie (LaFreniere),” Purdue-Smithe said.

Even though this meet features a lot of tough schools, UMass is focused on recovering and training to try to reach its peak by the end of the season.
LaFreniere even thinks this tough schedule, which she describes as “baptism by fire,” will help them in the long run, since it will help them prepare for the tough competition they’ll have to face at the Atlantic 10 championships.

Minutemen look for another strong performance

After a strong third place finish in the team’s season opener, the UMass men’s cross country team is looking to build off that performance as it prepares for the Boston College Invite on Friday.

Led by freshman Blake Croteau, who finished seventh overall at the Minuteman Invitational, the Minutemen finished with 70 total points.

With the top seven spots held by underclassmen, UMass showed how bright the next few years could be with a slew of talented young runners.

At the meet this Friday, the Minutemen will go up against last year’s national runner-up Wisconsin, No. 12 Oregon and national powerhouses Syracuse and Cornell.

The BC Invite is only a preview of the tough competition that UMass will face the rest of the season.

The women’s meet begins at 3 p.m. while the men start at 4:15 p.m.

Frank Corona can be reached at [email protected]