Aug 26, 2013
NEW ORLEANS – The University of Minnesota women's cross country team is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division I Midwest Region preseason rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) today.
The Gophers finished third at the 2012 NCAA Midwest Regional and earned one of 13 at-large berths to the NCAA Championship. Minnesota placed 22nd of 31 at the national championship meet. The Gophers return all 10 runners who competed in the 2012 postseason, led by 2012 All-Midwest Region honorees senior Ashlie Decker (Des Moines, Iowa), senior Laura Docherty (St. Paul, Minn.) and junior Molly Kayfes (Maple Grove, Minn.).
Minnesota is one of four teams to upset as preseason favorite, joining Michigan State (Great Lakes, runner-up in 2012 at regionals); Georgetown (Mid-Atlantic, runner-up in 2012); and Colorado (Mountain, third in 2012). Five 2012 regional champion teams reclaimed the top spots in the preseason rankings, including defending national champion Oregon (West Region).
USTFCCCA Regional Cross Country Rankings are determined subjectively by a single member coach in each respective region. The regional representative is tasked with weighing returning team strength with current-season results in determining predicted team finishes at the NCAA Regional Championships.
The preseason national coaches poll will be revealed Tuesday.
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Faces of the Big Ten: Madeline Strandemo
The Gophers cross country and track & field student-athlete is featured in this year's Faces of the Big Ten campaign.