Bucknam, Opitz Lead Gophers to First Place at Blugold Invite
Bucknam edged out her teammate for second place.

Sept. 21, 2012

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The Golden Gopher women's cross country team stayed undefeated on the season, winning the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invite to go 3-0. With a team score of 34, Minnesota stayed ahead of the host Blugolds.

Kate Bucknam and Cassy Opitz crossed the finish line in just about a dead heat, coming in together behind UWEC's Ashlyn Mauer (21:42.32). Redshirt freshman Bucknam (21:47.46) edged out junior Opitz (21:47.92) for second place with a lifetime personal record.

"Those two did a great job," assistant coach Sarah Hesser said. "They took charge early, pushed the pace, and worked well together."

The Gophers enjoyed near-perfect racing conditions, with about 60-degree weather. The coaches were pleased with the way the team raced on the rolling terrain.

Rebecca Rethwisch (seventh), Jamie Vandenberg (10th), and Paige Orcutt (13th) rounded out the Gophers' top five. Kathryn Ritter came in a close 14th.

"Rebecca Rethwisch, a redshirt freshman, has really come a long way," Hesser said. "She raced 49 seconds faster than she did here last year. She showed a lot of toughness out there today after being a little under the weather this week. The seniors also ran well. They are the rocks of that group."

Minnesota hosts the 27th annual Roy Griak Invitational next Saturday, Sept. 29 at Les Bolstad Golf Course. Click here for more information.

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