The Minnesota women's cross country team will test the waters against several of the nation's best teams when the Golden Gophers travel to Waterloo, Iowa, for the Pre-NCAA Meet on Saturday. Northern Iowa hosts the event, which will be contested on the 6-kilometer course at the Warren Memorial Golf Course.
The Pre-NCAA Meet will be run on the course that will be used for the NCAA Championships in November. Nationally ranked teams flock to this event in hopes of gaining any edge for the NCAA meet in five weeks. Twenty-two of the 30 nationally ranked teams will compete on Saturday, with defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Brigham Young and No. 2 ranked Stanford leading the pack.
A total of 69 teams are entered, and like the men's event, these teams will be split into Purple Race and Gold Race fields that are basically equal in strength. Minnesota will compete in the Purple Race at 12:20 p.m.
The top seven runners will compete in the Purple or Gold Races. The women's open race will be run at 2:15 p.m.
Lineup Beginning to Solidify
As the championship portion of their season quickly approaches, the Golden Gophers' lineup is beginning to take form. Redshirt freshman Emily Brown has been Minnesota's top runner this season, followed by sophomore Harper McConnell. Sophomore Jen Hess has been a top-five performers all season and captured her first collegiate medalist honor in wining the 4K Iowa State Memorial race two weeks ago. Others to watch are junior Zoe Nagell and Carly Emil.
Vasiljeva Surgery Successful
Golden Gopher senior Darja Vasiljeva underwent successful surgery on her left hamstring on Sept. 26. Vasiljeva will miss the remainder of the 2003 cross country season as well as the 2004 indoor and outdoor track season.