April 5, 2014
STANFORD, Calif. – Seven Golden Gopher distance runners made their 2014 outdoor track debuts at the Stanford Invitational Friday night, and four Minnesota runners earned personal best times led by senior Kelli Budd in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and sophomore Liz Berkholtz in the 10,000-meter run.
Budd and Berkholtz each improved their rankings on the Gophers' all-time performance list. Budd ran a 10:17.50 and took over 17 seconds off her best time to move from seventh to fourth on the Gophers' all-time list in the 3,000m steeplechase, while Berkholtz cut nearly a minute off her previous personal best time in the 10,000m with a 34:12.67 and improved from 10th to sixth all-time.
"Kelli and Liz had the two big breakout performances for us this weekend in terms of big drops in times from what they had done previously," assistant coach Sarah Hopkins said.
Two more Gophers joined Budd in the 3,000m steeplechase. Fellow senior Katie Moraczewski clocked a 10:19.51, just five seconds off her personal best, and sophomore Kaila Urick ran her personal best in 10:51.15. Budd finished second in the second section of the steeplechase.
"Kelli took advantage of running in the slower section of the steeple and got herself up to the front," Hopkins said. "I was really impressed with the way she competed. She stuck her nose in there and tried to win the heat, and with that came the time.
"We knew what she had done indoors this season with some big PRs and knew she was certainly ready to have some big breakthroughs outdoors."
Meanwhile, Berkholtz raced the 10,000m at 10 p.m. Senior Rachel Drake also ran the 10,000m, clocking a 35:53.57.
"We set Liz up to try to run in the 34:30 range because that would have been a good little PR for her," Hopkins said. "She came through the 5K at 17:15, which is exactly where we wanted her, and then she was able to negative split and come home hard."
"I think everybody here did a nice job in different ways, improving on different elements of racing," Hopkins said.
The Gophers will split their squad again next weekend, traveling to the Specs Town Invitational hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., and remaining local to compete at the Concordia St. Paul Invite.
Seniors Lead Gophers' NCAA Qualifiers
Liz Berkholtz, Nicolle Murphy, Lyndsey Thorpe, Heta Tuuri, and Kaila Urick join Jess Lehman in advancing to the NCAA Championship.
Day One NCAA West Prelim Action Postponed
Due to inclement weather, Thursday's competition at the NCAA West Prelim is postponed until Friday.
Six Gophers Named Academic All-District
Minnesota led all NCAA Division I programs with six CoSIDA Academic All-District Track & Field/Cross Country honorees.