SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Alabama women's cross country team faced its toughest challenge to date and turned in a 20th-place finish against a 24-team field that featured 12 ranked squads at the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday evening.
A slow start hampered the Crimson Tide throughout the 5-kilometer race as the squad got caught in the traffic of the 194-runner field and had difficulty navigating through the crowd to make up position.
"We didn't run as well as we'd have liked to and did not run well in the first 800 meters at the start of the race," head coach Randy Hasenbank said. "Tactically we were not good at the start and got pinched in with the large field and couldn't get ahead. However, it was a good experience to be in a field that size to prepare the team for the upcoming Pre-National meet and other large fields."
No. 1 Villanova took top honors in the race with three top-10 finishes while Stony Brook's Lucy Van Dalen won individual honors with a 16:22 finish.
Alabama was again led by junior Andrea Torske in 63rd with a time of 17:40, the third fastest 5-kilometer time by a UA runner this season. Leigh Gilmore was the next UA competitor across the line in 82nd with a 17:54 finish followed closely by Kelsey Johnson in 86th at 17:56.
Also scoring for Alabama was Katlyn Will in 120th with a time of 18:19 and Elsbeth Denton in 135th with an 18:28 finish.
The Tide will have a weekend off from competition before traveling back to Indiana for the Pre-National meet on Oct. 16 in Terre Haute, Ind.