VERONA, WISCONSIN, October 15 — Cross country returned to Wisconsin’s Zimmer Course for its first meet since ’19 for the Nuttycombe Invite and a rousing women’s meet resulted, with West Virginia’s Ceili McCabe topping a stellar field and No. 3 New Mexico upending No. 1 NC State 93–102.
But neither win was a sure thing early on, with a tight team battle among a boatload of ranked squads, including four of the top six, and a pack that seemed reluctant to let the favorites bust loose from the 266-runner field.
Finally, when the finishline loomed, Canadian soph McCabe said enough was enough, turned on the afterburners and left her pursuers in the grass (no dust on a damp course) on the long upgrade to the 6K finish, clocking 19:57.4 to NC State’s Kelsey Chmiel’s 20:00.2.
Rounding out the top 5 were Taylor Roe of Oklahoma State (20:01), Jenna Magness of Michigan State (20:05) and Katelyn Tuohy of NC State (20:09). That Big 10 champ Bethany Hasz of Minnesota finished 6th and 3-time Big 12 titlist Cailie Logue of Iowa State was 7th further illustrated the depth of the field.
McCabe’s story is one of not giving up, despite a 153rd place and 21:40 time two years ago in this same meet on this same course. Despite COVID. And despite uncertainty. “I didn’t have very much left coming into this straight [2 years ago],” she recalled, “so today it was a little different, which is nice.”
Also different, and maybe not so nice, at least for the favorites was the humongous pack that showed no signs of dissipating even through 4K, McCabe said, “As it went on, I was feeling so relaxed and didn’t feel any need to press with lot of really good runners in that pack. So I think I was just trying to stay as relaxed as possible and then see where that took me by the start of the last kilometer.”
She remained unworried, even late in the race. “Kind of going into it, my coach kind of discussed staying in the pack; I don’t need to push,” she said. “I mean, halfway through, I kind of felt like, ‘I’m a little farther out than what I maybe had planned, but could kind of feel relaxed that nobody broke away and [I’d have to] react to somebody.”
McCabe said she used the unusual pandemic-forced hiatus from competition to take advantage of whatever opportunities presented themselves. “I think I’ve just had a lot of experiences in between [the ’19 Nuttycombe] and obviously the whole COVID break,” she said. “I just got a lot stronger coming into this year, a lot more confident and it’s kind of panned out.
“I didn’t have a lot of experience just being a runner,” McCabe explained. “I played a lot of other sports and so having that time to adjust, it was a pretty busy freshman year, and it had a lot of ups and downs, but just getting that chance to really just get the miles under me and start feeling confident coming into the cross country season.”
In the team race, New Mexico’s tight pack made the difference with its 12-15-16-24-26 placing in the bigger-than-the-NCAA field eclipsing low sticks in 2nd and 5th by NC State. Reigning NCAA champ BYU scored 152 in 3rd, trailed by No. 6 Minnesota (188) and 13th-rated Oklahoma State (206).
What does it all mean? Rankings shuffled, with more shuffling to come after Conferences and Regionals. New favorites anointed—and unanointed. In short, the usual unpredictability that makes the sport interesting. Prepare for some individual and team showdowns 5 weeks from now in Tallahassee.
NUTTYCOMBE WOMEN’S RESULTS
Teams: 1. New Mexico 93; 2. NC State 102; 3. BYU 152; 4. Minnesota 188; 5. Oklahoma State 206; 6. Colorado State 236; 7. Syracuse 265; 8. Providence 268; 9. Iowa State 306; 10. Wisconsin 322.
Individuals (6K): 1. **Ceili McCabe’ (WV-Can) 19:57.4; 2. **Kelsey Chmiel (NCSt) 20:00.2; 3. *Taylor Roe (OkSt) 20:01.1; 4. Jenna Magness (MiSt) 20:05.6; 5. ***Katelyn Tuohy (NCSt) 20:08.4; 6. Bethany Hasz (Mn) 20:09.5; 7. Cailie Logue (IaSt) 20:10.7; 8. Alison Pray (SnUt) 20:11.4; 9. Amanda Vestri (Syr) 20:13.3; 10. Abby Kohut-Jackson (Mn) 20:19.1;
11. ***Bethany Graham (Furm) 20:20.1; 12. Stefanie Parsons (NM) 20:21.9; 13. *Aubrey Frentheway (BYU) 20:22.2; 14. Megan Hasz (Mn) 20:22.7; 15. **Gracelyn Larkin’ (NM-Can) 20:23.0; 16. ***Emma Heckel (NM) 20:24.4; 17. Molly Born (OkSt) 20:24.4; 18. **Samantha Bush (NCSt) 20:27.4; 19. Lynsie Gram (MiSt) 20:29.2; 20. **Lexy Halladay (BYU) 20:31.0;
21. **Maddy Denner (NDm) 20:32.1; 22. Maria Coffin (Prov) 20:33.2; 23. McKenna Lee (BYU) 20:34.7; 24. *Abbe Goldstein (NM) 20:37.0; 25. ***Laura Mooney (Prov) 20:37.5; 26. ***Samree Dishon (NM) 20:39.9; 27. **Lily Tuck (Prov) 20:40.6; 28. ***Alessia Zarbo (Or) 20:40.6; 29. Alissa Niggemann (Wi) 20:40.8; 30. Anna Pataki’ (Port-Hun) 20:41.7;
31. Alexandra Hays (NCSt) 20:42.6; 32. Anna Camp (BYU) 20:42.8;… 34. Adva Cohen’ (NM-Isr) 20:43.2;… 46. *Heather Holt (NCSt) 20:51.8; 47. ***Andrea Modin Engesaeth’ (NM-Nor) 20:51.9.