Nov. 6, 2011
It was a very windy morning at Les Bolstad Golf Course, but that didn't hold back the University of Minnesota women's cross country team from getting in one final race for the fall, as they hosted the Rocky's Run. This morning's run featured team members who might not be competing at next weekend's NCAA Midwest Regional. It was a good chance for them to get one final race before they begin training for the 2012 track season.
Every year the team host Rocky's Run, which 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. This year Sophomore Missa Varpness was presented with the scholarship.
"The scholarship always is given to a great kid and a great person, because that is who Rocky was," Head Coach Gary Wilson said of Varpness and being award the scholarship. "It is a special day for a special person (Rocky), she had a big impact on people."
The race featured over 200 runners and people of all ages participated in the 6k race, in which proceeds go towards the memorial scholarship. As mentioned earlier, the race is a good opportunity for team members who aren't part of the Regional/National team to get that last run in for the season.
"This was a great way to wrap up the season for our younger runners," assistant coach Sarah Hesser said. "It gives them another race under their belt and another opportunity to develop and improve."
Finishing first for the Gophers was Rachel Drake who ran a 22:25 race. Drake sat back a little bit in the pack during the first 3,000 meters and checked into another gear down the home stretch, to finish first for Minnesota.
Varpness was just a hair behind Drake and finished second for the maroon and gold, with a time of 22:26. Varpness led the pack of Gophers throughout the race and showed a huge improvement from last weekend's Big Ten Championships.
It was a great turn out to finish up the home regular season schedule for the team. Many local fans and supporters came out to cheer everyone on.
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.