Women’s cross country upset with fourth place

by Jim Schortemeyer

It’s not hard to figure out when women’s cross country coach Gary Wilson is upset — he’s the quiet guy who’s red in the face.
And after his team placed fourth out of 25 teams at the NCAA District V meet Saturday, Wilson wasn’t doing a whole lot of talking.
“I thought it was terrible,” Wilson said. “My dad told me that when you’re really upset, don’t talk to anyone. I was so upset I didn’t talk to anyone for two hours.
“This is my life. When something like this happens, I’m gonna take it personally.”
The Gophers finished in sub-par fashion Saturday at the NCAA regional qualifying meet in Champaign, Ill. Kansas State put four runners in the top five to take first place. Minnesota’s highest runner was Rasa Michniovaite, who took eighth.
The problem wasn’t so much that any runners were slacking, but that all the runners were a couple of positions away from where they should be, according to Wilson.
Now Minnesota is left hoping for an at-large bid to the NCAA championships in Bloomington, Ind., next Monday.
But Wilson isn’t hoping for a bid.
“Done deal, we’ll be there,” he said. “Of the 18 teams that qualified automatically Saturday, we’ve beaten nine of them.”
The No. 16 Gophers lost confidence at the Big Ten championship two weeks ago. Minnesota came in a disappointing third and just a few points out of second.
If the team is going to see any improvement, Wilson says the team has to get its head screwed on straight.
“We’ve been able to handle adversity and now we have to handle success,” Wilson said.
“I told the kids (Saturday) that there’s nothing we can do now physically. We just have to decide we’re a better team.”

Jim Schortemeyer covers cross country and welcomes comments at [email protected].