The No. 4 Minnesota women’s cross country team placed fourth in the Pre-NCAA Meet, Saturday, in Terre Haute, Ind. The meet is contested on the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course, the site of the NCAA Championships in November.
The Golden Gophers tallied 192 team points, to finish behind No. 1 Stanford (102), No. 11 Florida State (123), and No. 9 Michigan State (178).
Sophomore Jamie Cheever covered a fast 6-kilometer course in a personal-best time of 20 minutes, 44.5 seconds to pace the Gophers with a 15th-place finish. Cheever’s time moves her to fourth on the all-time list with her time marking the eighth-fastest time in Gopher history.
Elizabeth Yetzer ran a nice race to finish as Minnesota’s number-two runner. Yetzer clocked her career-best time of 20:52.1 to place 24th. Gabriele Anderson crossed the finish line in 27th in 20:54.2, while Ladia Albertson-Junkans was 34th in 20:59.7.
The Gophers’ fifth, sixth and seventh finishers fell back after a slow start, costing Minnesota a better team showing. Megan Duwell concluded the Minnesota scoring in 92nd place as the Gophers’ number-five finisher running a time of 21:38.0, edging Heather Dorniden, who was 94th in 21:39.0. Sally Paulson was 120th in 21:58.3.
“Elizabeth Yetzer ran very well for us, but overall it was just an okay performance for us,” said Golden Gopher head coach Gary Wilson. “Unfortunately, with this kind of a field, okay isn’t good enough. But, we’d much rather have this kind of performance at this time of the year.
“Megan, Heather and Sally lost a bit of focus early, between the 1K (kilometer) and the 2K, and lost too much ground,” Wilson added. “They couldn’t make it up with this large and talented field. We learned from it though. That should benefit us later on.”
Florida State’s Susan Kuijken won the individual title with a time of 19:55.5. Leading Stanford to the team title was runner-up Teresa McWalters (20:00.1) and third-place finisher Arianna Lambie (20:01.1). Griak champion, Emily Harrison of Virginia, was fourth in 20:04.8. No. 8 Princeton was an upset winner of the Pre-NCAA White Race gathering 149 points.
Wilson also saluted the performance of freshman Nikki Swenson, who placed fourth in the open race. Swenson clocked a time of 21:29.9. Mallory Van Ness finished 14th in 21:54.7, while Amy Laskowske was 26th in 22:10.9.
With a roster numbering nearly 50, the Gophers took the opportunity to split their squad and compete at a second location on Saturday. The second group of Golden Gophers captured the team title in the Tori Neubauer Invitational, hosted by Wisconsin-LaCrosse in West Salem, Wis. Minnesota tallied a team total of 120 points.
Senior Katie Howery led the charge with an 11th-place finish, covering the 6-kilometer in a time of 22:38.80. Freshman Laura Koch added a top-10 showing, finishing 17th in 22:56.56. Completing the scoring the Gophers was Claire Bootsma in 23rd in 23:05.76, Abbey O’Connell in 33rd in 23:18.18 and Jaclyn Edmonds in 36th in 23:22.93.
Minnesota will host Jack’s Run, a fundraising event, on Saturday, Oct. 20. The Gophers will rest their top runners for the upcoming (Oct. 28) Big Ten Championships.