Gophers finish 10th at Notre Dame Invite

Madeline Strandemo was Minnesota’s top finisher in 18th.

Redshirt junior Madeline Strandemo runs in the Jack Johnson Women's Gold Race at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at the Les Bolstad golf course.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Redshirt junior Madeline Strandemo runs in the Jack Johnson Women’s Gold Race at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at the Les Bolstad golf course.

Alyssa Hodenfield

The Minnesota women’s cross country team placed 10th at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational at Burke Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. Friday afternoon.

The team brought 12 runners to the invitational to race against some tough competition, including six nationally ranked teams. All Minnesota runners posted career-best 5K times.

“It was definitely a solid day. I think we beat some good teams and did some good things overall,” head coach Sarah Hopkins said. “It’s always good when people run their fastest 5Ks they’ve ever run, but we’re still chasing that perfect team race.”

Redshirt junior Madeline Strandemo was the leading runner in the Women’s Blue Division 5K for the team, finishing 18th (16:45.7). She was followed by true freshmen Bethany Hasz (17:01.3) and Megan Hasz (17:01.5) in 40th and 42nd, respectively — finishing only 0.2 seconds apart.

“I think the team as a whole did a good job,” redshirt junior Tess Wasowicz said. “We definitely improved from our Griak race last week, and I think looking forward it will improve even more.”

No. 1 Providence finished first on the day, while North Carolina State and Eastern Michigan finished second and third, respectively.

The team had a change in scenery at the Notre Dame Invitational, running on a very flat course as opposed to the home Les Bolstad Course. Hopkins described the scenery at Burke Golf Course as one of the hardest courses in the nation.

“The course in Notre Dame was a really fast course,” Hopkins said. “I think [running on our course] helps us be a little bit tougher and makes the flat courses fun, but I also think we have to remember that we do have to race a little bit differently [on flatter courses].”

Minnesota also had four runners in the open 5K. Freshman Elyse Prescott shaved 40 seconds off her best time and finished second (17:34.4). Redshirt junior Tess Wasowicz (17:53.9) and redshirt sophomore Molly Eastman (18:06.1) followed in 11th and 13th, respectively.

“I think [my race] was definitely an improvement, my best race this season,” Wasowicz said. “I think that course definitely played to my strengths, and I think there’s definitely a lot of room to grow, especially going into Wisconsin here in a couple weeks.”

The other half of the Minnesota women’s cross country team competed in the Blugold Invitational in Eau Claire, Wisc. on Friday. Redshirt junior Ellen Snyder took first with a career-best time (22:34.3) to give the team an overall win.

The Gophers will take this week off to train for the Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 14 and the Tori Neubauer Invitational on Oct. 15.

“We’ll be starting to get a little more speed, and I think that will set us up really well,” Hopkins said. “The hope for the next phase here is just to get comfortable with a little bit faster-than-race-pace type work.”