Sept. 13, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin women’s cross country team will hit the road this weekend, as the Badgers will send athletes to Terre Haute, Ind., to compete in the Sycamore Invitational, and to Whitewater, Wis., for the Warhawk Invitational.
The Badgers will look to build off last week’s second-place finish at the Badger Opener. Wisconsin, led by junior Gabrielle Anzalone’s seventh-place performance, finished runner-up to Big Ten rival Northwestern.
Coach Jim Stintzi was happy with the overall performance of his athletes last Friday, but is anxious to see how they have improved after another week of training.
“Our goal last week was to keep the group together,” Stintzi said. “The people that raced, I was pleased with their performances. They raced well, but I think we will learn a little bit more this weekend. The big thing is seeing how they race compared to how they work out. Training is one thing, but racing is a completely other thing.”
For the 5-kilometer Sycamore Invitational, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. (CT), Wisconsin will compete five runners that didn’t suit up last week, as well as other athletes Stintzi believes can make the team’s top-12 travel squad. Stintzi is looking forward to competing on the same course that will host the NCAA championships in November, noting Saturday’s race will provide a great opportunity for the team to gain experience on a challenging course.
“We want the entire ‘A’ group to get a chance on the course and experience the way it runs,” Stintzi said. “It is a deceptively difficult course. It is a little tricky with a downhill start and some rolling hills in the middle. It will be a good chance for our young kids to learn the course.”
Stintzi will look to see how sophomore Emma-Lisa Murphy and senior transfer Erin Cawley respond after a successful Badger Opener. Murphy, who won the competition last year in her first collegiate race, finished ninth, while Cawley, a transfer from Syracuse, placed 12th in her debut in cardinal and white.
“Emma-Lisa Murphy has looked really good in practice and ran a really good race,” Stintzi said. “She ran a controlled race with Gabi (Anzalone) the whole way. I was impressed with Erin Cawley’s performance as well.”
In addition, Wisconsin will send some of its less experienced runners to Whitewater for the Warhawk Invitational, slated to start at 10:45 a.m. (CT). Stintzi believes the advantages of sending athletes to two meets are twofold, as the newcomers gain valuable experience, while the shortened roster increases competition.
“One of the reasons why I like to split up the squad is it puts a little bit of pressure on the team if we are racing five or seven people as opposed to 15,” Stintzi said. “You need to come through for the team. I think it’s a good thing to see who will be able to come through when the pressure is on, and who will need a little bit more time. The group going to Whitewater will get a chance to sew their oats and get another race under their feet.”