2017 Cross Country Season in Review
Nov. 25, 2017

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Golden Gopher women's cross country team wrapped up the 2017 season with three NCAA All-Midwest Region honorees, three All-Big Ten Conference awards, B1G team and individual runner-up showings, and a top-20 NCAA Championship finish.

TRIO LEADS GOPHERS ALL SEASON
Madeline Strandemo, Bethany Hasz, and Megan Hasz finished as Minnesota's top three runners in all seven races in which they competed this year. The trio earned All-Big Ten accolades and All-Midwest Region honors to lead the Maroon & Gold.

GOPHERS EARN HIGHEST NATIONAL RANKING SINCE 2009
Following a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Conference Championship, Minnesota climbed to No. 13 in the USTFCCCA National Coaches' Poll, marking the program's highest national ranking since also ranking 13th in the week seven poll in 2009. Minnesota then slipped to No. 21 in the nation after its third-place showing at the NCAA Midwest Regional and went on to finish the season ranked No. 19.

CAREER-BEST MARKS
Twenty-five Gophers recorded career-best 6K times this season, and Madeline Strandemo clocked the fastest time on the team at 20:13.5. Six Gophers recorded 5K personal records as well.

SIX GOPHERS MOVE UP ALL-TIME LIST
With her career-best 6K performance of 20:14.5 at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, Madeline Strandemo moved into third on the Gophers' all-time list behind Stephanie Price (19:55.50) and Megan Duwell (20:06.90); Strandemo improved her PR by one second at the B1G Championship (20:13.5). Megan Hasz (20:16.0) and Bethany Hasz (20:16.9) also posted PRs at the meet in Wisconsin to move into fourth and sixth, respectively, in Gopher history. Abby Kohut-Jackson moved into 34th among all-time Gophers with a PR of 21:13.57 at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Likewise, Bailey Ness posted a career-best 6K of 21:14.23 at the NCAA Midwest Regional for 36th all-time. Courtney Alama used a 6K PR of 21:34.77 to move into 46th on Minnesota's all-time list as well.

GOPHER HISTORY AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
This season marked the program's 23rd team appearance at the NCAA Championship since 1974. Minnesota's highest NCAA team finish came in 2005 when the Gophers placed ninth led by All-Americans Ladia Albertson-Junkans and Emily Brown. The ninth-place showing was the first of five-straight top-12 finishes for the Gophers. Minnesota's most recent All-American is Stephanie Price, who finished 31st in 2010. The Gophers' all-time highest individual finisher at the NCAA Championships is Megan Duwell, who took eighth overall in 2009.

NEW NCAA STREAK BEGINS
Minnesota returned to the NCAA Championship in 2017 after seeing a historic streak of consecutive NCAA Championship bids come to an end last year. The Gophers made 11-straight NCAA appearances from 2005 to 2015. Last year, Madeline Strandemo represented Minnesota as an at-large individual qualifier at the NCAA meet after the Gophers placed fourth at the NCAA Midwest Regional and did not advance as a team.

QUINTET SERVES AS CAPTAINS
Five captains led this year's team: first-year captains Amelia Barczi, Bailey Ness, Patty O'Brien, and Paige Peschel and returning captain Madeline Strandemo.

2017 GOPHER MEET SUMMARIES
SEPT. 1 • INTRASQUAD 5K (LES BOLSTAD COURSE)
Minnesota unofficially opened the season with its annual Intrasquad 5K exhibition race at Les Bolstad Course. Olivia Hummel, a sophomore transfer from the University of Dayton, paced the field in 19:01.68 with true freshmen Anastasia Korzenowski (19:05.93) and Jaycie Thomsen (19:11.20) finishing second and third, respectively. Sophomore Elyse Prescott (19:19.92) and rookie Sophie Schmitz (19:32.88) rounded out the top five.

SEPT. 2 • INDIANA OPEN (BLOOMINGTON, IN)
Minnesota finished as runner-up in the team standings and placed three Gophers among the top seven at the Indiana Open 5K. Bethany Hasz was Minnesota's top runner, placing fourth in 17:46.5, with Megan Hasz (17:48.9) and Madeline Strandemo (17:49.5) in fifth place and seventh place, respectively. Only 22 places and less than 40 seconds separated Minnesota's top seven in the season-opening meet. Bailey Ness placed 14th as the fourth Gopher in 18:10.3, followed by Courtney Alama (18:19.2), Emily Betz (18:20.5), and Patty O'Brien (18:25.4) in 21st, 23rd, and 26th places, respectively.

SEPT. 8 • OZ MEMORIAL (LES BOLSTAD COURSE)
Abby Kohut-Jackson took home top individual honors and the Gophers won the team title when Minnesota hosted the 18th annual Oz Memorial Run at Les Bolstad Course to kick off its home slate. Kohut-Jackson paced the field of 63 runners in 22:35.6 with unattached Gopher rookie Anastasia Korzenowski finishing as runner-up in 22:43.4. Drake senior Bailee Cofer was third in 22:48.1 while Zetta Mason (career-best 22:51.0) and unattached Gopher rookie Jaycie Thomsen (23:02.6) rounded out the top five. Minnesota cruised to the team title with 25 points ahead of runner-up North Dakota State with 54 points. South Dakota State (62), Drake (95), and Hamline (151) rounded out the five-team meet.

SEPT. 23 • Roy Griak INVITATIONAL (LES BOLSTAD COURSE)
All five scoring runners finished among the top 30 to secure a podium finish in third place at the 2017 Roy Griak Invitational. Minnesota's top three runners finished within eight seconds and four places of one another. Madeline Strandemo led the Gophers in 10th place overall (21:47.1) followed by Bethany Hasz (21:51.6) for 11th. Megan Hasz came in 13th (21:54.2). Bailey Ness (22:25.1) and Courtney Alama (22:32.6) were 24th and 27th, respectively, to round out Minnesota's scoring runners in a field of 188 finishers at the 32nd annual Griak Invitational, where runners faced temperatures near 90 degrees Fahrenheit. San Francisco won the team title with the top four overall individuals, scoring 22 points to finish ahead of runner-up Iowa State (72 points), Minnesota (85 points), Michigan State (91 points), and South Dakota (208 points) in the top five.

SEPT. 29 • BLUGOLD INVITATIONAL (EAU CLAIRE, WI)
Abby Lange led the Gophers with an 11th-place showing with a career-best 6K time of 22:34.5 to lead Minnesota for the first time in her career. Sarah Werking ran a season-best 22:45.2 as Minnesota's second finisher in 17th overall, and Kelli Schmidt also posted a career-best 6K time of 22:54.6 in 24th overall to round out the top-three Gophers. In the team standings, Minnesota finished fourth of 15 teams with 104 points.

SEPT. 30 • GREATER LOUISVILLE CLASSIC 5K (LOUISVILLE, KY)
Bethany Hasz, Madeline Strandemo, and Megan Hasz earned top-eight finishes to lead Minnesota to a fourth-place team showing at the meet. Bethany Hasz finished sixth overall, posting a career-best cross country 5K time of 16:46.63. Strandemo (season-best 16:47.66) and Megan Hasz (career-best 16:48.81) followed in seventh and eighth place, respectively. The Gophers scored 129 points to place fourth in the team standings. Boise State won the team title with 82 points followed by Wisconsin (107) and Furman (127) to make up the top three teams. Northern Arizona scored 181 to round out the top five in the 37 teams.

OCT. 13 • NUTTYCOMBE WISCONSIN INVITATIONAL (MADISON, WI)
Led by top-25 finishes from Madeline Strandemo, Megan Hasz, and Bethany Hasz, the Gophers placed 10th at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. Minnesota's top four runners recorded then career-best 6K times led by Strandemo in 20th place with a time of 20:14.5. M. Hasz (20:16.0) and B. Hasz (20:16.9) also posted PRs in 23rd place and 25th place, respectively. Bailey Ness ran a career-best 21:20.2, narrowly improving on her previous best 6K time of 21:20.6 in 104th overall. Emily Betz (21:38.6), Courtney Alama (21:50.6), and Patty O'Brien (21:53.1) posted season-best times to round out Minnesota's top seven. The Gophers scored 313 points to place 10th in the team standings.

OCT. 14 • TORI NEUBAUER INVITATIONAL (ETTRICK, WI)
Sarah Werking, Ally Smith, and Paige Peschel led the Gophers at the Tori Neubauer Invitational hosted by UW-La Crosse. Werking placed 14th overall in a season-best 6K time of 22:41.67. Smith (22:55.19) also earned a top-20 showing in 20th place with a season-best mark. Peschel (season-best 23:08.46) and Kelli Schmidt (23:10.72) came in 28th and 29th, respectively, and Sarah Klecker (23:38.05) rounded out Minnesota's top five in 46th overall (42nd in the team race). The Gophers placed fourth in the team standings with 133 points.

OCT. 20 • JACK'S TWILIGHT RUN (LES BOLSTAD COURSE)
Elyse Prescott led the Gophers and finished as the overall runner-up at the 10th annual running of Jack's Twilight Run. Twenty-two Gophers raced, and 19 recorded career-best times led by Prescott's runner-up time of 20:56.7. Unattached Gopher Jaycie Thomsen posted a PR of 21:13.2 in fourth place overall while Molly Eastman came in fifth in a career-best 21:20.2. Zetta Mason (21:28.6), Paige Peschel (21:35.8), and Ally Smith (21:47.3) also recorded career-best times and finished within the top-10 overall finishers in sixth, ninth, and 10th, respectively. Fifty total competitors toed the line at Jack's Twilight Run led by individual champion Julia Webb of the Bowerman Track Club in 20:47.1.

OCT. 29 • BIG TEN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP (BLOOMINGTON, IN)
Minnesota placed second in the team standings behind Madeline Strandemo's individual runner-up finish at the 2017 Big Ten Cross Country Championship. Strandemo (second), Megan Hasz (fifth) and Bethany Hasz (10th) also earned top-10 finishes to lead Minnesota. Bailey Ness and Abby Kohut-Jackson completed Minnesota's scoring finishes in 30th and 39th, respectively. Minnesota scored 86 points to edge third-place Wisconsin with 100 points. Michigan placed all five of its scoring runners among the top 17 individuals to score 55 points for the team title.

NOV. 5 • ROCKY'S RUN (LES BOLSTAD COURSE)
Sarah Werking, Molly Eastman, and Carissa Dock were the top three attached Gophers while unattached rookies Jaycie Thomsen, Sophie Schmitz, and Tate Sweeney also finished among the top-20 overall finishers at Rocky's Run. Thomsen placed eighth overall as the top female finisher in the open 6K race, clocking a time of 22:58.5. Schmitz came in 12th overall as the third female in 23:41.5 followed by Sweeney in 23:52.3 for 14th overall as the fourth female. Werking led the attached Gophers, placing fifth among female finishers in 15th overall (23:56.6), followed by Eastman in 16th (24:03.3). Dock rounded out the top three attached Gophers in 20th overall as the seventh female in 24:06.0.

NOV. 10 • NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL (AMES, IA)
Megan Hasz (fifth), Madeline Strandemo (sixth), and Bethany Hasz (seventh) earned all-region honors to lead Minnesota to a third-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional. Abby Kohut-Jackson (21:13.6) and Bailey Ness (21:14.3) both posted career-best 6K times, placing 50th and 51st, respectively, to round out Minnesota's scoring finishes. The Gophers placed third in the team race with 119 points behind host Iowa State (90 points) and Oklahoma State (103 points).

NOV. 18 • NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP (LOUISVILLE, KY)
Minnesota returned to the NCAA Cross Country Championship after a one-year hiatus and earned a 19th-place team finish led by Bethany Hasz, Megan Hasz, and Madeline Strandemo at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park. The Gophers scored 488 points to place 19th in the team standings. Six of Minnesota's seven runners made their debuts at the NCAA meet with Strandemo returning as the team's lone veteran. In their NCAA debuts, B. Hasz placed 70th in 20:29.32 followed by M. Hasz in 74th (20:31.01), and Strandemo placed 83rd (20:35.74) as Minnesota's third runner. Bailey Ness (21:32.56 in 195th) and Courtney Alama (career-best 21:34.77 in 199th) were among the top-200 overall finishers to complete the Gophers' scoring finishes in 159th and 162nd in the team race. Elyse Prescott (21:46.40) and Abby Kohut-Jackson (22:02.27) also gained valuable NCAA Championship experience as Minnesota's sixth and seventh finishers.

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