Gophers Impressive, Place Fifth in Pre-NCAA Meet Gophers Impressive, Place Fifth in Pre-NCAA Meet
Stephanie Price finished sixth overall to pace the Minnesota women’s cross country team to a fifth-place finish in the White Race of the Pre-NCAA Meet in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday. The meet is an important date on the schedule since teams are able to earn valuable points in support of an NCAA Championships’ berth.
Price, a junior, ran the fastest time of her career, and the fourth-fastest in Gopher history, covering the 6-kilometer course at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in a time of 20 minutes, 25.2 seconds. She was the highest Big Ten finisher in either the Blue or White Race.
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Price had plenty of support as the Gophers’ second, third and fourth finishers placed with 14 spots of each other as Minnesota tallied 241 team points.
Redshirt freshman Missa Varpness also clocked a career-best time, finishing 30th in a time of 21:01.8. Varpness’ time ranks as the 15th-best in Minnesota history.
Senior Nikki Swenson placed 46th in a time of 21:17.7, followed by true freshman Ashlie Decker who finished 54th in 21:25.3.
Completing the scoring for the Gophers was redshirt freshman Katie Moraczewski, who placed 105 in a time of 21:52.4.
“I’m very happy with our performance today,” said Gopher head coach Gary Wilson. “Steph ran a great race, but really all 12 kids we brought to this meet ran well. They gave everything they had out there today.”
Minnesota, ranked No. 26 in the USTFCCCA poll last week, scored big victories over No. 19 Michigan and No. 23 North Carolina State.
“Beating Michigan was huge,” added Wilson. “The Wolverines will be among the top teams in the Great Lakes Region. Florida is another team is was important for us to finish ahead of as they will do well in the South Region.”
Florida was ranked one spot below Minnesota at No. 27 last week. The Gators struggled to a 19th-place Pre-NCAA showing.
Also competing for the Gophers in the White Race were Rachel Drake (127th, 22:03.4) and Kayla Wagner (138th, 22:10.8).
No. 5 Georgetown won the White Race title with 100 points. No. 9 Colorado (123) edged No. 17 Stanford (125) for second place. Stony Brook’s Lucy Van Dalen won the individual title in a time of 20:08.1.
No. 3 Florida State, the highest ranked team at the Pre-NCAA Meet, won the Blue Race crown with 115 points. Arizona was second with 128. UTEP’s Risper Kimaiyo won the race in 20:03.4.
Minnesota had several runners compete in the Pre-NCAA Open Race. Cassy Opitz led the group with a 21st-place finish in 22:28.1.
Still another pack of the Gopher roster traveled to compete in the Tori Neubauer Invitational in West Salem, Wis. The Gophers placed second to North Dakota State in the team standings. Junior Katie Salvatore was the top Gopher, placing sixth in a time of 21:50.3.