Oct. 11, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- After three-consecutive impressive performances on the road, the Wisconsin women's cross country team returns home Friday when the No. 29-ranked Badgers host the fourth-annual Wisconsin adidas Invitational at the Zimmer Championship Course.
The nation's top competitors will be attending the meet, which is the highlight of the sport's regular season nationally. Wisconsin will run the 6-kilometer race at noon against 48 other schools, including 20 of the 30 teams ranked in the latest USTFCCA national coaches' poll.
Six of the top-10 teams will be in attendance: No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Washington, No. 5 Iowa State, No. 7 Stanford, No. 9 Cornell and No. 10 Michigan State.
After a strong seventh-place finish at the Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic -- an effective NCAA championship preview -- on Sept. 29, the Badgers have the opportunity to continue to build their case for an at-large bid for the NCAA championship in November.
"It's going to be a fantastic meet, both in terms of the quality of competition and also how it will affect teams' NCAA hopes," UW head coach Jim Stintzi said.
The UW took 21st place at last season's Wisconsin adidas Invitational with a score of 526 points. That performance helped the Badgers earn their first at-large qualifying bid to the NCAA championship since 2008.
Wisconsin hopes to make it back to the championship for a second-consecutive season and will rely on veteran leadership from senior Ashley Beutler, senior Hanna Knurr and sophomore Gabrielle Anzalone.
Beutler was recently named Big Ten Runner of the Week and is coming off a strong top-20 performance in Louisville two weeks ago. Knurr and Anzalone both had top-100 finishes on UW's home course last season.
The Badges are looking to make the most of their opportunity at home and are ready for the challenge that comes with hosting the nation's elite.
"It's a chance for us to race in the comfort of home against the best teams in the nation," Stintzi said. "You hope that advantage comes in handy."