theTHIS WEEK-The 17th-ranked University of Minnesota cross country team will host the Minnesota Open, Friday at 4:30 p.m., at the Les Bolstad Cross Country Course. The meet is the final home event of the year for the Gophers and will serve as the team's final tune-up before the conference meet.
LAST WEEK-In a 33-team field, featuring 17 of last week's top 25 ranked schools, Minnesota finished 12th at the Pre-NCAA Meet at the University of Indiana Golf Course in Bloomington, Ind. Top-ranked Stanford won the meet with 77 points. Brigham Young was second with 116 points and previously unranked Colorado State was third with 123. Minnesota tallied 402 points.
Kara Wheeler was the individual. The Colorado State senior edged Stanford frosh Erin Sullivan by just over a second, posting a winning time of 17:07.03.
Leading the way for Minnesota was senior Rasa Michniovaite (Pabrade, Lithuania/Pabrade Rytas), who was 25th overall in a season-best time of 17 minutes, 54.10 seconds. The only other Gopher runner in the top 100 was junior Elaine Eggleston (Roseville, Minn./Roseville Area), finishing 54th in 18:12.72. The spread between the Gophers' top five runners was 52.45, a difference of 90 scoring places.
RASA ROUNDING INTO SHAPE-Due to a hard summer of training, Rasa Michniovaite has not yet run the times she did last season when she won both the Roy Griak Invitational and the NCAA Midwest Regional. However, she has lowered her times each meet.
Her 17:54.10 clocking and 25th-place overall finish at the Pre-NCAA meet were her best efforts since she finished 16th in 17:20.88 at the 1998 NCAA Championships in Lawrence, Kan.
THE SURVEY SAYS-Despite its 12th-place showing at the Pre-NCAA Meet, Minnesota dropped to 17th in this week's FinishLynx NCAA Division I Women's Cross Country Poll.
A number of teams made moves in this week's poll, most noticable was North Carolina, which jumped from 16th to sixth following a fourth-place showing at the Pre-NCAA Meet. Boston University, which earned four points in last week's poll, jumped all the way to 13th.
Among Big Ten schools, Wisconsin, the top-ranked conference school, remained fifth, with Minnesota 17th and Michigan State 18th.
UP NEXT-The Gophers get down to business next weekend as they travel to University Park, Pa., for the Big Ten Conference Championship, hosted at the Penn State University Golf Course.