Sept. 28, 2013
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Seniors Laura Docherty (St. Paul, Minn.) and Katie Moraczewski (White Bear Lake, Minn.) led the No. 19 Golden Gopher women's cross country team to a fourth-place finish in the Women's Gold Race on a rainy Saturday afternoon at the 28th annual Griak Invitational. No. 5 Arizona won the women's team title, while Arizona State's Shelby Houlihan took first overall in 20:36.
"I think we ran well. I think we can run better, but overall I was pretty pleased," head coach Sarah Hopkins said. "People stuck their noses in there and fought really hard. We put five in the top 31, which was great. I wish we beat a few more teams, but that can happen in any race."
Racing in her eighth Griak, Docherty came in 11th in 21:11. The St. Paul, Minn., native took six seconds off her 2012 Griak time (21:17), leading Minnesota's charge. Moraczewski, also no stranger to the Griak, was just 10 seconds behind in 15th place (21:21) and improved on her 26th-place finish (22:03) at last year's event.
"The passion and the attitude that were out there today were as good as they've always been," Docherty said. "For the whole race, I could feel it - I knew my teammates were really close and we were all packed together. I actually didn't know Katie Moraczewski was that close behind me though. She had an awesome race. She shows up when she needs to."
Senior Maggie Bollig (Cross Plains, Wis.) and junior Molly Kayfes (Maple Grove, Minn.) were the Gophers' third and fourth runners, crossing the finish line in 23rd and 24th place, respectively. Senior Rachel Drake (White Bear Lake, Minn.) was Minnesota's fifth scoring runner, placing 31st (21:46) overall.
"I think we have some things we can work on, some race tactic stuff we can improve on, and I knew that walking in," Hopkins said. "We haven't raced in three weeks, so sometimes it's hard to remember how you're supposed to be feeling. We had a few tactical errors in the middle. I think we just got a little excited early. I know in three weeks we'll be ready to go and get things done."
Behind 2013 Griak team champion Arizona (48 points), Michigan State came in second in the team standings (72 points), followed by Butler in third with 94 points. The Gophers (104 points) and Iowa State (119 points) completed the top five of the 28-team field.
Minnesota competes again this Friday in preparation for the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 19. This weekend, the Gophers will take part in the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invitational in Eau Claire, Wis., and the SDSU Invitational in Brookings, S.D.
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The Gophers cross country and track & field student-athlete is featured in this year's Faces of the Big Ten campaign.