Docherty's Interview with Gopher Sports Update
University of Minnesota junior distance runner Laura Docherty makes her way to Eugene, Ore. this week for the 32nd NCAA Women's Track & Field Championships. The St. Paul, Minn. native makes her first appearance at the national meet and will compete in the 5,000-meter run. Docherty will race against 23 other NCAA qualifiers on Friday at 4:15 p.m., and it will be available through Oregon/Pac12.com.
CHANGE OF PACE
Despite only running one 5k race during the outdoor season, Docherty was able to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a ninth place finish at the NCAA West Preliminaries on Mary 25. Her time of 16:10.63 ranks third in Gopher history and just six seconds off the school record. The junior from St. Paul, Minn. already holds the school record in the 10k, which is the event she initially thought she would qualify for at the beginning of the season.
CHASING ALL-AMERICAN STATUS
Docherty is searching for her first All-American honor this weekend. She enters the race seeded 15th out of 24. The top eight finishers receive First Team All-American status, while those that finish 9-16 are named to the second team. Honorable mentions are given to the final eight spots.
NEW FACES AT HAYWARD FIELD
Of the 24 runners competing in the 5k, there are only seven participants that have raced in the 5k at the NCAA Championships. Among those seven are four of last year's top 5 finishers, including the defending champion Abbey D'Agostino of Dartmouth who has the fastest time in the nation this season.
RUNNING FOR THE RECORD
On Friday, Docherty, who ran a personal best 16:10.63 at the NCAA Prelims, will have a good shot at breaking the school record in the 5k, which is held by Megan Duwell with a time of 16:04.55 (2010). Earlier this season, she broke the 10,000m record (33:24.93) at the Stanford Invitational on Mar. 29.
GOPHER 5K HISTORY
Docherty is only the fourth Gopher to advance to the NCAA Championships in the 5,000-meter run in program history and only the second to do so for the outdoor season (Lori Townsend, 1995). Townsend was also a two-time indoor qualifier (1994 and 1995) and is joined by Megan Duwell (2010) and Corinne Nimitz (2000).
FOLLOW DOCHERTY IN EUGENE
Follow Laura and her trip to Track Town USA via Twitter (@LowDock) and Instagram (lowdock). Periodic updates will also be posted on GopherSports.com.