Oct. 19, 2013
MADISON, Wis. - The No. 22 Gopher women's cross country team placed six runners in the top-80 to take eighth in the team standings at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational at the Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course in Madison, Wis., Saturday afternoon.
"I think this is the best team race we've run in probably the last three years, just in terms of the pack, the team and how everybody fought," head coach Sarah Hopkins said. "We had six runners in the top 80, which is pretty darn phenomenal in a field like this. We had some really big performances."
Junior Molly Kayfes (Maple Grove, Minn.) and senior Laura Docherty (St. Paul, Minn.) led the way for the Gophers in 45th and 48th, respectively. Kayfes crossed the finish line in 20:36 with Docherty on her heels in 20:38.
Minnesota's top six runners all posted sub-21:00 times as senior Katie Moraczewski (White Bear Lake, Minn.) and sophomore Liz Berkholtz (Sun Prairie, Wis.) were the Gophers' third and fourth runners in 20:50, placing 67th and 68th overall.
"I think Liz Berkholtz had a big race in terms of improvement. She had a pretty off race in SDSU and really bounced back well today," Hopkins said. "She stuck her nose in there and threw caution to the wind a little bit and really stuck herself in there. Becca Dyson did a great job today, too."
Senior Rachel Drake (White Bear Lake, Minn.) rounded out the Gophers' top seven runners, clocking in at 21:20 and placing 132nd.
Seniors Kaitlin Mincke (Farmington, Minn.) and Kelli Budd (Omaha, Neb.) also competed for the Gophers. Mincke posted a career-best time of 21:21, while Budd ran a season-best 21:49. Berkholtz (20:50), Bollig (20:56) and Dyson (20:57) each ran career-best times as well.
"Our core runners have been good all year and had another steady race today," Hopkins said. "I think some of the top kids know they could be further up there, but it's where they need to be right now. I thought today was a really great step in the right direction."
No. 3 Arizona won the meet with 117 points, followed by No. 8 Arkansas (136), No. 1 Providence (191), No. 9 Michigan State (200), No. 28 Iowa State (235), No. 7 New Mexico (240) and No. 13 Dartmouth (246). The Gophers were eighth with 303 points ahead of No. 4 Washington (308) and No. 10 San Francisco (326) to round out the top 10 of the 37-team field. Dartmouth senior Abbey D'Agostino won the meet in 19:31, as the top eight individuals posted sub-20:00 times.
Last year's adidas Invitational saw the Gophers tie for 16th in the team standings among a similarly competitive field.
The Gophers also competed in the open/unseeded race at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. Redshirt sophomore Kaila Urick (Chaska, Minn.) led Minnesota's charge in 21:21, placing sixth overall. The Gophers won the unseeded race with 28 points, topping teams from BYU (57 points), Iowa State (62) and Wisconsin (71).
Senior Cassy Opitz (Eden Prairie, Minn.) clocked in at 21:42 with redshirt freshman Haley Johnson (Plymouth, Wis.) on her heels in 21:43. The duo came in 10th and 11th overall. Redshirt freshman Taylor Mikkalson (Mantorville, Minn.) and senior Katie Hill (Onalaska, Wis.) rounded on the Gophers' top five in 14th (21:55) and 19th (21:58), respectively.
Minnesota also competed at the Tori Neubauer Invitational on Saturday afternoon. Junior Chelsea Pettit (Savage, Minn.) led the way for the Gophers, taking ninth overall in 22:27.5.
The Gophers return to Les Bolstad Course for the sixth annual Jack's Twilight Run at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. The 6K run, which is open to the public, honors the late Minnesota equipment manager Jack Johnson.
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