Thursday, August 22, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Women's #9- Connecticut

Editor's note: For the next month, The Wood Report will be counting down projected team finishes in this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN.

Head Coach: Amy Yoder-Begley (1st Season)
2012 National Finish- 8th

New analysis: Many of these girls have now left with the loss of Coach Mcdonough

Key Returners from 2012
  • Allison Lasinicki (Sr., 15:59 5k, 33:36 10k)
  • Lauren Sara (Sr., 9:32 Open 3k, 16:21 5k, 33:48 10k)
  • Brigitte Mania (Sr., 2:04 800m, 4:22 1500m, 9:48 Open 3k) 
  • Abby Mace (So.)
Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Bethanie Brown (Fr., 4:50 1600m, 10:13 3200m, 16:41 NBON '13)- Transferred to Iowa State 
    Season Preview

    Andrea Grove-McDonough, the coach that helped bring UCONN to relevance, is now in Ames, Iowa and another women with a hyphenated last name has come in to replace her. Amy Yoder-Begley, a 2008 Olympian in the 10000m, is now at the helm in Storrs. Begley is in good hands with having been given a great group of athletes that have made a ton of progress in bringing this program into one of the nation's best. 

    Things are always a bit different when a new coach comes in with a new philosophy and new style. It will be interesting to see how the Uconn girls respond to the new training programs and a different coach. Begley is a proven athlete and it always helps to know that your coach knows exactly what you're going through, if not more, and will be able to relate with her athletes on almost every level. 

    Allison Lasinicki was the most consistent no. 1 runner for the Huskies (not counting NCAAs) in 2012 and is the most proven cross country runner on the squad. Lasinicki has all the motivation in the world as she had a very disappointing NCAA race in Louisville last season and is definitely All-American talented. 4th in the Big East and 3rd at the Northeast Regional, is certainly indicative of someone who is good enough to make the top-40 and Lasinicki should find herself in that range by the end of the season in Terre Haute. Her 9th place NCAAs finish outdoors in the 10k is also a good sign of her progression. 

    Lauren Sara and Brigitte Mania combine to make a good second group for the Huskies behind Lasinicki. The faster they can close the gap between themselves and the top two, will significantly increase their team's chances at NCAAs. Sara and Mania are polar opposites on the track, but can meet in the middle quite well for 6k. Sara is a beast on the track for 10k and Mania is a middle-distance power and they play crucial roles in the top five for Uconn. 

    Losing the likes of Lindsay Crevoiserat (transfer to Oregon), Shauna McNiff and Julia Zrinyi (got a release) will hurt this squad, but the signing of big time prep runner Bethanie Brown will help lessen the blow. Brown is a very good track girl who is very under experienced in cross country. Her track PRs prove her ability to run long events on the track, it's just a matter now of translating that to the cross country course. She should at least be their no. 5 runner the moment she steps on campus. 

    This team is quite an intriguing team. A new coach, some girls who have stepped up recently and a very good newcomer in Storrs, the Huskies will give Georgetown all they want and more at conference and are capable of big things at the Big Dance in Terre Haute. 

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