20 Questions with Maggie Bollig

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20 Questions with Kathryn Ritter

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Gophersports: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?

Kathryn Ritter: I think about what I want to have for breakfast.

GS: Do you have any siblings? How many?

KR: My older sister Megan is 24, and my younger brother Steven is 15.

GS: What is your favorite class or professor so far at Minnesota, and why?

KR: My favorite class has been Human Physiology.  The subject matter was very interesting to me, and I learned a lot over the course of the semester.  This class helped me realize that I really want to pursue medical school after graduation.

GS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?

KR: Cereal

GS: Who was your role-model as a child? Why? Has your role model changed now that you are older?

KR: I looked up to Mia Hamm when I was younger.  I started playing soccer when I was in first grade, and I wanted to be just like her.  She was such a talented athlete and always carried herself in a classy manner.  After her brother Garrett passed away, Mia Hamm also worked to support patients who needed bone marrow transplant.  She was such a positive role-model.

GS: How has being a student and athlete at Minnesota influenced your life?

KR: Being a student-athlete at Minnesota has been such a great experience.  I am very thankful for all of the opportunities that I have had to compete for the Gophers and be a part of a team.  Being both a student and an athlete has also taught me how to stay organized and balance my life.  It has forced me to plan ahead to make sure that I am getting everything done.  This can be challenging at times but definitely worth it!

GS: Why did you first decide to become a runner?

KR: When I was in elementary school, we had an Olympic Day at the end of the school year.  I always looked forward to it and had so much fun running the races there.  I was excited to finally enter middle school when I could join the track team.  It was the greatest thing ever back then because it was like having Olympic Day every day. 

GS: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when moving from high school cross country to running in college? 

KR: I had to get used to running higher mileage and racing a 6K.  My primary event in high school was the 800, so it was an adjustment to transition to long distance training.

GS: What is the most difficult course you've ever run? 

KR: Our home course!

GS: What is the most unusual or creative workout you've ever run at practice? 

KR: Blind fartleks are the most creative workouts that we have ever done.  We run in small groups and then we rotate who is in charge of leading the workout.  The leader gets to decide how long we will run hard before we go back to an easy run pace.  It is a fun workout because you never really know what you will be doing until a few seconds beforehand.

GS: What team or individual performance are you most proud of? 

KR: I am most proud of qualifying for the NCAA Preliminary round in the 1500 during track season of my sophomore year.

GS: Use five words to describe yourself.

KR: Optimistic, Hard-working, Considerate, Determined, Reliable

GS: Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, where would you be?

KR: On a perfect day, I would go camping with friends.  I would love to spend the day hiking, canoeing, and swimming in a lake.  Then we would spend the night hanging out by the bonfire.

GS: What is your pre-race routine?

KR: When we arrive at the course, I listen to music for awhile and think about my race plan.  About 50 minutes before race time, we go for our warm-up run as a team before we stretch and do drills.  Then I like to do my final strides at the starting line.  We do our final team cheer, and then we are all ready to run.

GS: Other than the Gophers, what is your favorite sports team? (College or Pro)

KR: Green Bay Packers

GS: What do you miss the most about being at home?

KR: I miss spending time with my family and home-cooked meals.  During the warmer months, I especially miss how my house had air-conditioning.

GS: What is the best advice you have received? Who was it from?

KR: One of my high school teachers told our class to always live as if you are in "the best years of your life." 

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?

KR: Dave Matthews Band, Hootie & the Blowfish, Eric Church

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?

KR: I would travel backward in time because I would love to experience what life was like before the Information Age.

GS: Where is your favorite place at the University of Minnesota?

KR: My favorite place is the running path right next the Mississippi River.  It is so beautiful during the fall when all of the leaves are changing colors.

20 Questions with Jamie Vandenberg

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Throughout the 2011 season we will be bringing you either a set of 20 questions from a Golden Gopher cross country squad member or an article focusing on a student-athlete from this years team. In our first crack at 2011, gophersports.com talked with Niagara, Wis. sophomore Jamie Vandenberg.

Gophersports.com: Use five words to describe yourself.   

Jamie Vandenberg: Friendly, easy-going, personable, loud, tall

GS: Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, where would you be?
JV: At my cottage in Rhinelander with my family and friends! Out on the water tubing and skiing all day and around the campfire roasting hot dogs and marshmallows at night!

GS: What is your pre-race routine?
JV: I get up and eat a bowl of cereal and a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana slices. I listen to my ipod while I'm getting the rest of my race gear together. Once we're at the course, we do team affirmations and then warm up for about 2 miles. I do drills and strides and play one last song. Then its team cheer and RACE TIME!

GS: Other than the Gophers, what is your favorite sports team? (College or Pro)
JV: GREEN BAY PACKERS!!!!

GS:  What do you miss the most about being at home?
JV: My mom's delicious cooking!

GS:  Who was the most famous person you have ever met?
JV: Gary Wilson

GS:  If your life was to be turned into a movie, what genre would it be; what would the title be; what actor would you have star in it?
JV: I would be in a documentary with Morgan Freeman called "Jamie: the Movie" and he would narrate my life.

GS: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
JV: New Zealand

GS: What was the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
JV: In Kindergarten, I wore a dress to the first day of school. A boy lifted it up and showed the entire class my underwear... that was the end of dresses for a while.

GS: What is the best advice you have received? Who was it from?
JV: "Remember what is most important... it's not having everything go right, it's facing whatever goes wrong. It's not being without fear; it's having the determination to go on in spite of it. Remember that every day ends and brings a new tomorrow full of exciting new things. Love what you do, and do the best you can!"- From my high school volleyball coach, Mrs. St. Arnauld.

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?

JV: My Ipod is currently not in use so I've been using my dad's... Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, tends to pop up a lot.

GS:  If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?
JV: I would go back in time to give Ben & Jerry a pat on the back for giving the world FREE CONE DAY!

GS: Where is your favorite place at the University of Minnesota?
JV: Stone Arch Bridge

GS:  What is your major? Why did you choose this major?
JV: My Major is Kinesiology with a focus on pre-PA. I chose kinesiology because I think learning about the mechanics behind the movement in our bodies is really interesting.


GS: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?

JV: What cereal should I have this morning??

GS:  Do you have any siblings? How many?
JV: I have 3 siblings. Robin and Hollie are my two older sisters and Darren is my older brother.

GS: What is your favorite class or professor so far at Minnesota, and why?
JV: Although it was really stressful most days, I liked going to Chemistry lab. Taking it with Missa Varpness might have helped... we were definitely laughing more than mixing chemicals!

GS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
JV: ice cream

GS:  Who was your role-model as a child? Why? Has your role model changed now that you are older?
JV: My role models have always been my parents. They are the two most dedicated, loving, and kind-hearted people I know.

GS: How has being a student and athlete at Minnesota influenced your life?
JV: By joining this team, I have been blessed with a second family who is always there for me!

 

Captain's Blog Day 5: Gopher Olympics!

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Claire Rindo-Senior Captain

Gopher Olympics!
 
I cannot believe how fast camp flew by again this year! The team is even closer than when we arrived and we are a little bit more trained, rested, and united to come back to campus prepared for the upcoming season. Every year on the final day of Ely, we wrap-up camp with a whole group activity known as "Gopher Olympics."
 
Our entire team splits into smaller teams of four or five, get decked out in creative costumes, take on new identities with clever team names, and prepare ourselves for a series of three events.
The events include: Lightning, egg toss, and "Circle of Death". For those of you who do not know what circle of death is, the game involves two members of each team. One member runs in an inner circle clockwise, and the other team member runs in an outer circle counterclockwise. A senario is called out by our coach and team members must run to their partner and perform that senerio before everyone else does. The last team to complete the senario is out. An example of a senario is "Monkey in a tree", where one team member hops on the back of their teammate. This game is  certainly a team favorite! The winning team this year was "Scrunch with an emphasis on Crunch uh!" Other participating teams included "Nerd Alert", "Nyte-Rydr", "Neon Flash", "Five Card Stud", "G-force", "The Scirvy Unicorns", "The Gangster Geishas", "Team America"...etc.
 
Following another successful Gopher Olympics, the upper classmen and coaches were entertained after dinner by the Freshmen Skit, then off to pack up to head back to campus the following morning. The final day of Ely is always a bitter-sweet arrival; many of us looking forward to the start of school and the season, but still wanting to hold on to the final days of summer and enjoy the peacefulness, and care-free days in Ely. 

Captain's Blog Day 4:Coming Together as a Family

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Stephanie Price, senior captain

What a great day 4 at preseason camp here in lovely Ely, Minnesota! The days of running, relaxing, and team bonding are flying by and will be drawing to a close after a full day of activities tomorrow. Today turned out to be a gorgeous day here with plenty of sunshine and good times. Not much was planned for the team today outside of a recovery run between workout days. We filled our time instead with plenty of canoeing, sailing, sunbathing, reading, and bananagrams!

The evening wrapped up with a team trip into town for Dairy Queen, a traditional night of soft-serve ice cream that continues year after year. Along the way, our car learned a great deal about Coach Wilson's taste in music. We found in his CD player some Bruno Mars, plenty of Michael Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, and best of all the olympic theme song. Now we all know what Coach Wilson likes to jam out to on his road trips!

After the team was pretty well sugared-up from all sorts of Blizzard concoctions, we finished the night with an impromptu concert put on in the mess hall by some teammates, followed up by a memorable dance party. The team is really coming together as a family and the freshmen already fit right in! The Gopher Women's Cross Country team definitely has a special bond this year!


Captain's Blog Day 3: Just Another Day in Ely, MN

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By: Junior Captain Bre Valle

Ely, what a glorious place! Today was an adventured filled day with the first "workout" of camp and amazing food to fuel our bodies.

We drove into town today to do our progressive run around a four mile lake which went extremely well for the whole team. The progressive is just gradually picking up the pace every 10 minutes three times. It was awesome to see people improve from past years and really just focus on themselves and what they needed to do. The freshmen seemed to have a great first progressive run experiences! One down, about a million to go!

Coming back from the workout we were starving. Not to worry though because camp Ely has the best cooks in the WORLD!!!!! No joke, if i could have camp food for the rest of my life well, I would be one happy Camper :) Nina and the rest of the cooks here at Ely really go out of their way to make sure we're getting awesome food to fuel our bodies and that taste absolutely amazing!

After filling my belly with deliciousness I took a little nap and by little I mean two hour nap. After waking up I decided to hit up the kayaks and take a stroll around the lake, which is absolutely majestic by the way. We then ended the day with a campfire and grilling out for dinner. I'm currently in the mess hall working on this blog but I'm almost positive that a mad dance party is bound to break out any minute now. Would love to share more but I should probably go stretch so I don't pull anything dancing... yes it gets that intense!

Pretty much Ely is the bomb diggity!
By: Kathryn Ritter, Senior Cross Country Captain

Today was an excellent day in the Northwoods for our team. We had an easy recovery run in the morning. Then the rest of the day was filled with Ely activities. Some people spent the afternoon soaking up the sun on the docks. There were a few groups that went canoeing, and some of our teammates even went rock-climbing.

The freshmen had meetings with either the captains or the coaches for most of the day. They have been learning the ropes of Minnesota Cross Country and are quickly assimilating into the team. They were not shy about busting their moves in the team dance party that broke out in the mess hall last night.

Coach Bingle, our head track coach, came up to Ely with his family today to visit us at camp. His daughters even provided some great after-dinner entertainment by singing some Justin Bieber jams. We also enjoyed the annual performance of "Shoop" by Coach Hesser. It has become a great Ely tradition, and this year's show did not disappoint!


Captain's Blog Day 1: Forming a Team Bond

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By: Danielle LeBreck, Senior Captain

Seven hours the women's cross country team has been in the great northern town of Ely, Minnesota, and we have already experienced our fair share of adventures. For the first time, we all made the five-hour drive together on a bus at full-capacity, seating our 56 team members as opposed to the 15 passenger vans we've used in the past. Already we have gotten to know our fantastic freshmen who sang karaoke for the team on the ride. This helped us put the names to the faces, and also clued us in on who possesses promising music abilities.

After finishing our first workout of the year at the local park, we closed with our traditional team cheer--the first of many to come for this 2011 squad. Everyone is in high spirits and ready for the season! We continued on to be further spoiled by enjoying the culinary masterpieces of Camp Voyager, eating our first scrumptious team dinner of the week.

Though Ely is a peaceful northern getaway contrasting with the familiar noises and hustle-bustle nature of Minneapolis, us city girls aren't quite used to the wildlife here. Wolf spiders lurk in the shadowy corners of our cabins, bears have been known to wander the paths, and I even pulled a leech off of my foot today, a traumatic experience I still shudder to think of. In all seriousness, everyone is excited to be here, get to know new team members, and reconnect after the summer months. Only fun awaits as we embark on our annual Ely adventures!


Women Report for Fall Training

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The 2011 edition of Golden Gopher Women's Cross Country has arrived! Today the squad reported for a long day of activities gearing up for the start of the season. Head coach Gary Wilson welcomed 56 student-athletes on Thursday. 

The day consisted of physicals, equipment being issued, meetings with compliance officials, academics and rounded out the day with a team dinner.

Tomorrow the Gophers' travel will travel to Ely, MN to train for a week at Camp Voyageur. Through out the teams week of training, the captains will have blogs posted to Gophersports.com so that fans and family can be kept in the loop of things. 

Please check back each day for updates.