TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The UConn men’s cross country team ran their first race since November 2019 on Friday, finishing 12th at the FSU Winter XC Classic at Florida State. The field of teams included seven nationally ranked programs as the Huskies got their first look at this year’s squad a month ahead of the Big East Championship race.
“Obviously this was a really good field today,” stated director of cross country and track & field Greg Roy. “I am really happy we got to run this race today. Rather than being conservative or not sure what to do today, we came out flying and I was impressed. It’s always easy to pull the guys back than it is to try and get them going.”
The Huskies finished the 8K race 12th in the field of 20 teams with 318 points. Stanford, the 12th ranked team in the country won the event held at Apalachee Regional Park. UConn’s top-five runners finished between the 48th and 81st spots in the field.
UConn got out to a fast start and were led by senior Eric Van Der Els (Norwalk, Conn.) who paced the UConn contingent. He finished the day in 48th place posting a time of 24:25.8. He was followed by senior James Maniscalco (Fairfield, Conn.) and junior Will Brisman (Fairfield, Conn.) rounding out a top-three the Huskies have grown accustomed to the past two seasons.
Maniscalco finished in 57th position coming across the line in a time of 24:32.5. Brisman was 68th overall, clocking in at 24:47.3. Sophomore Kevin Cawley (St. James, N.Y.) was 76th overall at 24:53.2 and senior Sean Parker (Bridgewater, Conn.) rounded out the UConn top-five in 81st at 25:02.
“Our guys came down here and we didn’t talk a lot about race strategy,” commented Roy. “We came a long way to run a race, so we tried to make it simple and 800 meters in we were 3-across in the top-5. We were flying and at the 2K mark we were fourth but over the next 1,000 we slid back to 11th. We just hit that spot on the course where it hit us hard and we got put back on our heels a bit.”
“I thought we held together pretty well 1 to 5,” said Roy. “I think our guys were a little disappointed but I wasn’t. We went out harder than anybody in this race. We were aggressive and paid for it a bit. It was kind of like a basketball team that hits a ton of threes in the first half then cools off in the second. Overall, all though, we will find a lot of positives from today.”
The Huskies are hoping to get another race in if possible before taking part in the Big East Championship which is scheduled for Friday, March 5th in Gary, North Carolina.