MINNEAPOLIS -- The University of Minnesota women's cross country team will host five home meets at Les Bolstad Course during the 2017 campaign, and the Gophers will wrap up the season looking to return to the NCAA Championship.
Minnesota begins the 2017 season unofficially with the annual Intrasquad meet (Sept. 1) before members of the team travel to participate in the Indiana Open for the official season-opener on Saturday, Sept. 2. The Gophers will return to Les Bolstad Course for the Oz Memorial on Friday, Sept. 8 prior to hosting the annual Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23.
The team will split up for two pairs of meets on the road the weekends of Sept. 29-30 and again Oct. 13-14. Minnesota's top 12 runners will compete at the Louisville Classic 5K on Saturday, Sept 30. On Friday, Sept. 29 the team's second 24 runners head back to defend the title at the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invite. The Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invite (Oct. 13) and Tori Neubauer Invite (Oct. 14) will wrap up the Gophers' road portion of the regular-season schedule.
Two more home meets follow, including Jack's Twilight Run (Oct. 20) and Rocky's Run (Nov. 5). Jack's Twilight Run and Rocky's Run offer area runners and Gopher fans two opportunities to race on Minnesota's home course as both are held annually as open meets at Les Bolstad Course.
Jack's Twilight Run (Oct. 20) honors the late Minnesota equipment manager Jack Johnson. After serving as the Gophers' equipment manager for over three decades, Johnson passed away in February 2006 after a battle with cancer. Johnson will always be a part of the Minnesota women's cross country and track programs.
Meanwhile, Rocky's Run (Nov. 5) was founded in 1981 to honor former Gopher runner Rochelle "Rocky" Racette, who died in a car accident that fall at the age of 22. While at the University of Minnesota, Racette was an All-American in track & field and cross country and champion of the Big Ten and Drake Relays 5,000-meter titles. The annual race is staged by the many members of the running community who knew and loved her. Racette's legacy lives on through the memory of those who knew her and through Rocky's Run and the scholarship for which it raises money.
The 2017 Big Ten Cross Country Championship kicks off the Gophers' championship season on Sunday, Oct. 29 in Bloomington, Ind. The Maroon and Gold look to improve upon back-to-back fourth-place finishes over the past two years.
Post-season action continues Friday, Nov. 10 with the NCAA Midwest Regional hosted by Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. After a streak of 11-straight NCAA Championship appearances came to an end last season, the Gophers look to return to the NCAA Championship hosted by Louisville on Saturday, Nov. 18.
Captains Corner: Amelia Barczi
Gophers co-captain Amelia Barczi reflects on her journey as a Gopher so far and looks forward to the year ahead.
Captains Corner: Paige Peschel
Paige Peschel is one of five Gophers serving as team captain for the 2017 cross country season.
Minnesota Names 2017 Captains
Amelia Barczi, Bailey Ness, Patty O'Brien, Paige Peschel and Madeline Strandemo have been selected to lead the team.