Transfer leads U with record pace

Ryan Schuster

The task of replacing Lori Townsend, a senior on last year’s women’s cross country team seemed like a daunting one for coach Gary Wilson.
After all, Townsend was the only Gopher to compete at the NCAA Championships the past two seasons. She took 45th place in 1995.
All Wilson had to do, however, was convince sophomore Shoreview native Anna Gullingsrud to transfer from Purdue.
“She has the talent to be as good as Townsend was,” said Wilson. “She brings a replacement for Townsend to the team.”
She is unquestionably the number one runner on the women’s cross country team this season. And she knows it.
“I think I’m No. 1 on the team right now, but we have a really tough team,” Gullingsrud said. “We are really close with strong senior leadership.”
In only her second year of collegiate running, Gullingsrud has already beat Townsend’s best time at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. Gullingsrud’s time of 17 minutes, 24 seconds on Sept. 13 was one second faster than Townsend’s best on the same 5,000-meter course.
Gullingsrud has also shaved almost a minute off of her time at the Big Ten meet last year. She finished in 16th-place with a time of 18:16 during her freshmen year at Purdue.
She could conceivably break Jody Eder’s all-time Gophers women’s record time of 16:32.6 before she graduates.
“She’s everything you want in a runner,” Wilson said. “She’ll run 1,000 miles a week if you let her. You have to rein her in.”
The Mounds View High School graduate put on a lot of miles during the summer. Now, all that hard work is finally paying off.
Gullingsrud never felt like she fit in at Purdue, which has made her transfer to Minnesota all the more rewarding.
“I just really wasn’t happy at the school,” said Gullingsrud of Purdue. “Lafayette (Ind.) was a small town and I was used to the Twin Cities. I never fit in or got along with the coach there.”
Early on she seems to be adjusting well to coach Wilson.
“He’s really outgoing,” said Gullingsrud. “He cares for us as people, not just as runners or horses.”
And if Gullingsrud continues to run well, Wilson will have no trouble adjusting to her.