Jill Field (Barnesville, Minn./Barnesville) claimed her first career victory and led Minnesota to a near-perfect finish at the Blugold Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, at the Whitetail Country Club in Colfax, Wis.
The Gophers scored 18 points, claiming five of the top six spots in the race, to take home team honors. Wisconsin-Stout was a distant second with 69 points and the host Blugolds were third in the seven-team field with 76 points.
Field, whose previous best time in a 5,000-meter event was 20 minutes, one second, finished in 18:55.88, outdistancing junior teammate Rachel Domenichetti (St. Paul, Minn./Harding) by just over five seconds. Frosh Allison Mumbleau (White Bear Lake, Minn./White Bear Lake) and Lindsay Feder (Mankato, Minn./Mankato West) claimed fourth and fifth overall, while sophomore Tanya Prince (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) completed Minnesota's scoring by placing sixth.
Sophomore Kristine Hartmark (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East) finished 10th, giving Minnesota six runners in the top 10. Frosh Tanna-Marie Simmons (St. Louis Park, Minn./St. Louis Park) was 14th overall to round out the Gophers' team-scoring runners. Junior tri-captain Hayley Singer (Appleton, Wis./Appleton East) was 18th and frosh Carrie Nicklin (LeSueur, Minn./LeSueur-Henderson) finished 19th.
NEAR PERFECTION-The Gophers were just three points shy of perfection Friday, narrowly missing the 15-point mark. Wisconsin-Superior's Marni Housel, who finished third, broke up Minnesota's bid for a sweep of the top five spots.
Minnesota's top five runners finished with 30 seconds of each other and the spread among the team's seven scoring runners was 44 seconds.
All nine Gopher runners ran career-best times Friday as well. Jill Field led the group by bettering her previous best time, set three weeks earlier, by 66 seconds.
THE POLL SAYS-Minnesota fell one spot to 13th in this week's FinishLynx NCAA Division I Women's Cross Country Poll. Last week's No. 12 ranking tied for the highest the Gophers have ever been in the national rankings.
Notre Dame, ranked 14th last week, jumped two spots to overtake both Minnesota and Missouri. The only change in the top 10 was Arizona State, the winner of the Roy Griak Invitational, Sept. 25, moved from fourth to third with Brigham Young, second at the Griak and number one in the preseason poll, dropping from third to fourth.
Among Big Ten schools, Wisconsin is fifth with Minnesota 14th. Michigan State makes its first appearance in the poll this year at 16th while Michigan, 29th, and Northwestern, 30th, give the conference five schools among the top 30 this week.
HEAD COACH GARY WILSON-Head coach Gary Wilson is in his 15th season at Minnesota. Wilson guided the Golden Gophers to the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the second consecutive year in 1998 and led the track and field team to a third-place finish at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, scoring the most points in school history while tying for the highest finish. The cross country team also finished third at both the Big Ten meet and the NCAA regional meet for the second consecutive year. Along the way, current senior Rasa Michniovaite (Pabrade, Lithuania/Pabrade Rytas) won the individual title at the regional meet and earned All- America honors by placing 16th at the national meet. Wilson also coached the Minnesota track and field team to top-25 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 1990, 1991, 1995 and 1996.
UP NEXT-The Gophers face one of their toughest tests of the season Saturday, Oct. 16, when they take part in the Pre-NCAA Meet, to be run at the University of Indiana Golf Course in Bloomington, Ind., site of the 1999 NCAA Championships.