Oct. 30, 2011
The University of Minnesota women's cross country team scored 140 points on Sunday morning to finish fifth overall at the 2011 Big Ten Cross Country Championships. Michigan State won the overall team race with 55 team points. While Minnesota was the fifth ranked team heading in to the championships, they had hopes of improving that rank on Sunday.
"We knew it would be a tough meet with several nationally ranked opponents, but we thought we had a shot to finish in the top three if we performed at the level we are capable of," Head Coach Gary Wilson said after the race. "As it turned out, Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State ran about as well as they could have and Wisconsin un-redshirted a senior who helped them finish in fourth."
Senior All-American Stephanie Price led all Gopher finishers with a fifth place finish. The Mankato, Minn. native clocked in at 20:30 and earned a spot on the First Team All-Conference list. Price position herself well early and just came up a little short in the end.
"You come off of getting second a year ago and in the back of your mind you think first is the only way to go up, but you've got to look at the people that finished ahead of me," Price said.
Freshman Molly Kayfes finished 19th overall for Minnesota with a time of 20:49, which was a personal best for the freshman.
"Molly continues an impressive freshman season," Wilson said. "She is a tough runner who is learning more and more every week. The sky is the limit for where she can take the next three and a half years in maroon and gold!"
Rounding out the top five was Katie Moraczewski, who tied a career best time of 21:17 even after falling in the first 100m of the race.
"It was unfortunate that she fell (Moraczewski) in the first 100m of the race and it did not get called back. However, she was a warrior and fought all the way back in it and was our fifth runner," Assistant Coach Sarah Hesser said. "She is in great shape and in the right race I think she is ready to have a major breakthrough."
The Gophers are already learning from the meet and are looking ahead to the Midwest Regional Championships.
"This is a young group with seven of the top nine either freshmen or sophomores," Hesser said. "There will be a learning curve, but this team has passion and determination and they will be a force to be reckoned with as they mature over the next months and years. We are proud of their efforts and know that they will bounce back stronger than ever."
Minnesota will next host the annual Rocky's Run on Sunday November 6 at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. Rocky's Run is a race named after Rochelle `Rocky' Anne Racette, who passed away in 1981 from injuries she sustained in a car accident. Each year one member of the women's team is presented with a Rocky Racette Memorial Scholarship, which is in Rocky's honor.
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.