2006 NCAA Midwest Region Cross Country Championships
Saturday, Nov. 11
U. of Minn. Les Bolstad Golf Course
Falcon Heights, Minn.
Meet Schedule (Central Time)
11 a.m. Women’s Race 6K
12:15 p.m. Men’s Race 10K
Golden Gopher Watch List — Nov. 11, 2006
• Minnesota Hosts NCAA Midwest Region Cross Country Championships - The Minnesota men’s and women’s cross country teams will play host to the 2006 NCAA Midwest Region Championships on Saturday, Nov. 11, at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course. The women’s 6-kilometer race begins at 11 a.m. and will be followed by the men’s 10-kilometer event at 12:15 p.m.
• Gopher Women a Virtual Lock for NCAA Berth - The Gopher women’s team has a goal of earning their second straight automatic NCAA Championships berth. Thanks to success during the 2006 regular season, especially a second-place showing at the Pre-NCAA Meet, the Gophers are a virtual lock to receive an NCAA berth whether it be automatic or at-large.
• In the Medalist Mix - Ladia Albertson-Junkans and Emily Brown are among the favorites to contend for the individual title in the women’s race. Albertson-Junkans was the 2005 runner-up, while Brown finished third.
NCAA Midwest Region Championships
The Minnesota women’s cross country team hosts the NCAA Midwest Region Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 11, at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course. The women’s 6-kilometer race begins at 11 a.m.
NCAA Berth at Stake
Thirty-one (31) teams will earn berths to the NCAA Championships, which will be run in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 20. The top two teams from each of the nine regions automatically qualify for the Championships. Another 13 at-large teams will be added to the field and announced on Monday, Nov. 13. In addition, four individual competitors from each region, who are not part of qualifying teams, will also earn their way into the Championships field. These individuals must finish in the top 25 at the regional championship to qualify. Additionally two individuals will be chosen at large by the NCAA committee.
Midwest Region Championships Women’s Preview
No. 6 Minnesota and Big Ten rival No. 13 Illinois enter the Midwest Region Championships as the highest ranked teams in the field. Other Big Ten teams in the field are No. 23 Iowa and Northwestern. The top Big 12 Conference teams are Nebraska and Oklahoma State Of the teams mentioned, only Nebraska ran in the Griak Invitational in September.
NCAA Berth Vitually a Lock for Gophers
Minnesota’s goal is to earn one of the two automatic qualifying berths from the Midwest Region. Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, however, the Golden Gophers have virtually locked up an NCAA invitation by their performances in other big meets throughout the season, namely the Griak (4th), the Pre-NCAA (2nd) and the Big Ten Championships (3rd). The Gophers’ NCAA bid in 2006 will be their second consecutive and seventh over the last 10 seasons.
Minnesota at the Midwest Region Championships
Minnesota has yet to win a Midwest Region title. Last season, the Gophers tied for second with Illinois with 90 points and earned the tie-breaker for the automatic bid. The Gophers have yet to celebrate an individual champion as well. Ladia Albertson-Junkans was the 2005 runner-up, her second-place showing marking the highest in school history. Emily Brown was third in 2005.
Defending Midwest Region Champions
Oklahoma State is the defending Midwest Region champion. The 2005 individual winner Desiraye Osburn of Wichita State has graduated,.but 2004 individual titlist,Illinois’ Cassie Hunt, is in the field of competitors.
The Golden Gophers
Minnesota has ridden the strength of two front-runners and a talented lineup of underclassmen throughout the season with great success. Senior Emily Brown has run in the Gophers’ number-one spot all season and is poised for a great NCAA run. Brown earned All-America honors last season and is a two-time All-Midwest Region performer. She is expected to contend for the individual crown after placing third a year ago. Junior Ladia Albertson-Junkans will also be tabbed among the race favorites as well after finishing second in 2005. Albertson-Junkans, also an All-American in 2005, has run in the Gophers’ number-two position this fall. The remainder of the Gophers’ top seven has been consistently made up of runners who are either true freshmen, redshirt freshmen or sophomores.
The Golden Gopher Lineup
Seven Golden Gophers will compete at the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. A team’s final lineup does not have to be declared until the day of the competition. Following is a list of possible participants and a listing of any previous experience at the regional meet.
Gabriele Anderson (So., Perham, Minn./Perham)
Ladia Albertson-Junkans (Jr., Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater)
2005 - 2nd, 20:52
2004 - 26th, 21:28.97
Emily Brown (Sr., West Allis, Wis./Nathan Hale)
2005 - 3rd, 20:55
2004 - 28th, 21:34.32
2003 - 25th, 22:14
Jamie Cheever (R-Fr., Minneapolis, Minn./Southwest)
Heather Dorniden (R-Fr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Rosemount)
Megan Duwell (R-Fr., West Bend, Wis./West Bend West)
Katie Howery (Jr., DeForest, Wis./DeForest)
2005 - 62nd, 23:02
Amy Laskowske (Fr., Palatine, Ill./Palatine)
Elizabeth Yetzer (Fr., Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North)
Gophers Continue to Hold No. 6 Rank in Poll, Highest Rank Ever
Minnesota maintained its No. 6 ranking in the Oct. 31 NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country Poll.. The No. 6 rank is the highest in school history bettering a No. 8 ranking the Gophers held for a week during the 2000 season.
The Gophers are one of three Big Ten Conference teams among the top 10 in the nation, with Michigan ranked No. 3 and Wisconsin tabbed at No. 5. Two other Big Ten teams are also highly ranked: Michigan State at No. 11 and Illinois at No. 13. Stanford has held the No. 1 spot in the poll the entire season.
The Gophers ran to an impressive second-place finish in the Pre-NCAA Meet Blue Race to propel the jump up the rankings.
The Gopher Coaching Staff
Golden Gopher head women’s cross country coach Gary Wilson is in his 22nd season at Minnesota. Wilson has guided the Gophers to eight NCAA Championships appearances, including a streak of five straight from 1997 to 2001, and a school-best ninth-place finish in 2005. Sarah Hesser is in her second season as the Gophers’ volunteer assistant coach.
Minnesota Places Third in Fierce Big Ten Championships Battle
The No. 6 Minnesota women’s cross country team placed third at the Big Ten Women’s Cross Country Championships, on Oct. 29 in Bloomington, Ind. The championships featured four teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation, with the Big Ten results following suit as No. 3 Michigan won the meet with 52 points. No. 5 Wisconsin scored 91 points to edge Minnesota by a single point (92). No. 9 Illinois placed fifth (107).\
Senior Emily Brown and junior Ladia Albertson-Junkans repeated as first-team All-Big Ten performers. Brown paced the Gophers by finishing sixth covering the 6-kilometer IU Cross Country Course in a time of 20 minutes, 52 seconds. Albertson-Junkans crossed the finish line a second later, clocked at 20:53. The top seven finishers are accorded All-Big Ten First Team honors. Michigan junior Erin Webster won the individual title in a time of 20:23.
“We ran well but it was a very tough field,” said Golden Gopher head coach Gary Wilson. “You have to take your hat off to Michigan. They ran an outstanding meet today.” Redshirt freshman Jamie Cheever struggled to finish the race on an uncharacteristically warm October day but turned in the Gophers’ number-three finish, placing 24th in a time of 21:41.
“The weather affected a lot of teams,” said Wilson. “It’s a tough course anyway, but when the added element of the warm weather came into play, a number of athletes struggled.”
Sophomore Gabriele Anderson notched her best team finish claiming the Gophers’ number-four spot with a 27th-place showing in 21:55. Freshman Elizabeth Yetzer closed the scoring for Minnesota with a 28th-place finish in 21:56.
Also competing for the Gophers were freshman Amy Laskowske, who placed 33rd in 22:04, and redshirt freshman Heather Dorniden, who finished 34th in 22:08.