Golden Gopher senior Megan Duwell defended her individual title and led the Minnesota women’s cross country team to an easy victory in the 10th Annual Oz Memorial Run, held Friday at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn. Duwell led from the opening gun and clocked an impressive early-season 6-kilometer time of 21 minutes, 13.24 seconds. The Gophers grabbed six of the top seven finishes to score 17 team points. South Dakota State was second with 72 points.
Duwell dedicated her race to her grandfather Ernie Duwell, who passed away on Thursday. “This one was for him,” she said after her victory. The Gopher All-American opened the race at a quick pace to take a sizable lead early on. She went on to finish 53 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Seniors Elizabeth Yetzer and Jamie Cheever finished second and third, respectively. Yetzer notched a time of 22:06.38, while Cheever ran a time of 22:10.27. Drake’s Casey McDermott finished fourth to spoil the Gophers’ bid at a fifth consecutive perfect team score (15) at the Oz. Gopher junior Nikki Swenson was fifth in 22:18.49 and senior Amy Laskowske sixth in 22:21.47 to complete the Minnesota scoring.
Minnesota overall collected 10 of the top 12 finishes in the meet. The Gophers’ top freshman was Kayla Wagner, who finished seventh in a time of 22:40.38. Heather Dorniden was ninth (23:01.18), Mallory Van Ness 10th (23:06.41), Kelly Wilson 11th (23:11.94) and Claire Rindo 12th (23:23.84).
“We ran a decent meet as a team overall, especially for a season opener,” said Golden Gopher head coach Gary Wilson. “We had some good individual performances and some not so good individual performances but I’m pleased overall. It’s early and we have plenty of improvement to work toward.”
Minnesota’s next competition is the Roy Griak Invitational in two weeks (Sept. 26).