By Julia Ransom
After a month of being away from the racing scene, Stanford cross country will return to action on Friday with the Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin.
“We’ve trained better, and they know me better,” said head coach J.J. Clark, who was recently appointed to the position in July after former head coach Chris Miltenberg moved to the University of North Carolina. “They know each other better, and they understand what I’m trying to do.”
The Cardinal are coming off a strong season opener at the John McNichols Invitational, where both the men’s and women’s teams finished second. The women’s team, which had originally been ranked 8th, surpassed the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 teams with a strong performance by senior Fiona O’Keeffe (16:34), who finished second overall. Averaging a time of 16:59, the top five Stanford runners finished within the top 20, helping Stanford score 54 points.
On the men’s side, performance was strong as well. The Cardinal finished behind reigning champs NAU, ranked No. 1. All seven Stanford runners finished within the top 25, led by senior Thomas Ratcliffe (23:51). The Cardinal accumulated 51 points and averaged a time of 24:17 for the 8k course.
The No. 5 men’s team will face off against top ranked teams, including No. 1 Northern Arizona and No. 2 BYU, which finished first and second at the NCAA Championships last year, respectively.
The women’s team is currently tied for fourth in the nation with New Mexico. The Cardinal will toe the line with the Lobos as well as No. 1 Arkansas, which placed 14th at last year’s championships.
“We’re excited to run against good people,” said Clark, who is focused on the future of the team and continuing to see its potential grow. “[The race] is a good benchmark to see what’s going on.”
The women’s race will begin at 12:20 p.m. and the men’s race will start at 1 p.m. on Friday at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin.
Contact Julia Ransom at jtransom ‘at’ stanford.edu.