FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Redshirt juniors Liz Berkholtz, Becca Dyson and Kaila Urick led the Gophers as the University of Minnesota women's cross country team held its annual Intrasquad Meet at Les Bolstad Course Friday evening.
Berkholtz won the 5K race in 18:47.15, followed by Dyson (18:53.07) and Urick (18:53.84). Fellow redshirt junior Kate Bucknam came in fourth in 19:00.84, and redshirt sophomore Jamie Piepenburg rounded out the top five in 19:05.23.
"Once you get into a situation where they have to push through some hard parts and they have to start competing and fighting through some things, then you can see mentally and physically who is putting the pieces together," head coach Sarah Hopkins said. "Obviously it was kind of a crazy day with thunderstorms, and the course was wet and sloppy, but we got to get out there and get one under our belts. I think we'll have a great start moving forward from here."
The entire team stuck together over the first kilometer, but by the 2K mark, Urick, Berkholtz, Dyson, Haley Johnson (seventh, 19:07.00), Bucknam, Piepenburg and Danielle Anderson (sixth, 19:06.12) had separated themselves as the lead pack. Another group of eight Gophers followed about six seconds behind the leaders. Between the 3K and 4K marks, Berkholtz, Urick, Dyson, Anderson and Bucknam distanced themselves further before the top three pulled ahead to finish under 19:00.
"Kate Bucknam had a great day today as our number four runner," Hopkins said. "I don't know if she's ever been in our top seven in a meet in her career, so to be fourth today was awesome. As a redshirt junior, it was great to see her put some pieces together.
"Then we had a crew after her who are all young in Jamie Piepenburg, Danielle Anderson, Haley Johnson and Bailey Ness. We have sophomores and freshmen in that next group, which is exactly what we wanted to see."
Freshman Bailey Ness had a strong performance in her first collegiate race, earning a top-eight finish in 19:20.63. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Taylor Mikkalson (19:28.51) and redshirt senior Ashlie Decker (19:31.21) completed the top 10 finishers. Decker returned to the Gophers' lineup after redshirting the 2013 season.
Next week's Oz Memorial marks the official start of the Gophers' 2014 season. Minnesota will host Drake, Minnesota State and South Dakota State in its annual season-opening 6K meet at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5 at Les Bolstad Course.
Intrasquad 5K Results
1. Liz Berkholtz, 18:47.15
2. Becca Dyson, 18:53.07
3. Kaila Urick, 18:53.84
4. Kate Bucknam, 19:00.84
5. Jamie Piepenburg, 19:05.23
6. Danielle Anderson, 19:06.12
7. Haley Johnson, 19:07.00
8. Bailey Ness, 19:20.63
9. Taylor Mikkalson, 19:28.51
10. Ashlie Decker, 19:31.21
11. Madeline Strandemo, 19:35.22
12. Stacey Swatek, 19:43.60
13. Sarah Richardson, 19:45.10
14. Emily Castanias, 20:08.36
15. Patty O'Brien, 20:17.47
16. Megan Bailey, 20:22.46
17. Tess Wasowicz, 20:28.65
18. Courtney Alama, 20:33.47
19. Hannah Trasser, 20:40.03
20. Andie Zeman, 20:42.83
21. Marnie Kinnaird, 20:44.64
22. Rebecca Rethwisch, 20:48.76
23. Naomi Ollila, 20:56.04
24. Delaney Sinnen, 20:59.45
25. Molly Eastman, 21:04.48
26. Anne Ferguson, 21:10.46
27. Melissa Cabak, 21:18.49
28. Chelsea Pettit, 21:25.84
29. Madeline Brighouse Glueck, 21:40.21
30. Lauren Domski, 21:42.15
31. Liz Miller, 21:57.72
Gophers Earn Top-20 NCAA Finish
Minnesota finished 18th in the team race for its highest NCAA finish since 2009.
Berkholtz Honored By USATF Minnesota
Senior Liz Berkholtz was named the USATF Minnesota Female Athlete of the Month for October.
No. 23 Gophers Head to NCAA Championship
Fifth-year seniors Liz Berkholtz and Kaila Urick lead Minnesota into its 11th-straight NCAA Championship this weekend.