After two second-place finishes in Oregon, Stanford’s two cross country teams will take the field at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Friday, as both the No. 4 men and the fifth-ranked women will compete with a full roster ahead of the Pac-12 championships later in October.
In the past two years, only the men had competed in Wisconsin, while the women raced the Pre-National Invitational in Kentucky.
In Louisville, the Cardinal women placed fourth and sixth in 2015 and 2016, respectively, led both times by fifth-year Vanessa Fraser. While Fraser had finished 26th two years ago, far ahead of the rest of the Cardinal, the fifth-year senior led a pack of four Cardinal runners who all finished in a span of 19 seconds last year.
On the men’s side, former senior Sean McGorty and current junior Grant Fisher had led the Cardinal to a runner-up finish last year. Checking in at number six and four, respectively, highlighting a team effort in which Stanford trailed only then top-ranked Northern Arizona.
This year, the women turn to their large sophomore class of five runners, all of which ran in championship competitions for the Cardinal last year, to take leadership of the team with Fraser. In particular, Fiona O’Keefe, who finished seconds behind Fraser during the Bill Dellinger Invitational two weeks ago, should once again finish among the top runners in the race.
Fisher, the reigning NCAA outdoor 5K champion, will make his season debut on Friday. While Fisher should lead the charge on the men’s side, Alex Ostberg is looking to confirm his previous performance. The junior finished first among Stanford runners in Oregon, taking the sixth place overall in 23:48.8, and is also coming off his first sub-14 in the 5K in June.
The women are scheduled to run first at 10:20 a.m. followed by the men at 11 a.m.
Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.