Women’s CC runs well at home meet

by Ryan Schuster

The rolling hills of green grass acted as a launching pad for the women’s gold cross country race this weekend at the Roy Griak Invitational.
Providence junior runner Maria McCambridge broke the one-year old 3.1-mile course record with a first-place time of 16:35. In fact, the first four women in the race all had fast enough times to break the record.
A summer drought in Minnesota made the ground on the University Les Bolstad Golf Course harder than usual, contributing to the fast times.
The old record was set by Wisconsin runner Kathy Butler at last year’s Griak Invitational on a muddy, rain-soaked course.
McCambridge and second-place finisher Marie McMahon led No. 1 Providence to the Division I team title. The first six places in the meet were all won by teams ranked in the top 25.
Minnesota was 10th with 272 team points, beating 13 other squads including three teams ranked in the preseason top 30 poll.
Coach Gary Wilson and his runners were upbeat about the team’s performance against some of the top ranked teams in the nation.
“We beat three or four ranked teams … and finished 10th in the field,” Wilson said. “That is real good. Overall it was a good performance for us.”
Sophomore transfer Anna Gullingsrud finished fourth in a time of 16:50, 46 seconds faster than her previous best time.
Gullingsrud’s time was also a minute and a half faster than the 18:16 she ran at last year’s Big Ten meet, in which she finished 16th.
In fact, her time was the fourth fastest in Gophers cross country history, behind Jody Eder.
“I felt pretty good,” Gullingsrud said after the race. “It was a good race, and I still have a lot (of energy) left. I finally broke 17 minutes.”
Minnesota junior Kari Thompson was 39th overall in a career best time of 17:57.
“I thought I started slow, but I just kept passing people,” Thompson said. “I felt strong and was very happy with (my performance). We beat a couple of ranked teams … and that should hopefully get us some votes.”
Gopher’s freshman Minna Haronoja from Finland took 59th place with a time of 18:12. She had her third straight top three finish on the team.
Minnesota’s Karen Kleindl, Julie Golla, Amy Hoel and Bridget Neutgens came in 73rd, 97th, 99th and 103rd respectively.
Wilson plans to run his second group of runners at the team’s next competition Oct. 4 at Eau Claire, Wisc.
The Gopher’s second team of six runners ran in the women’s maroon race on Saturday. Minnesota’s reserves all placed in the top 168 out of 376 total competitors in the race against Division II, III, NAIA and junior college runners.
Beth Cordes finished 86th, Genalyn Johnson took 128th, and Laurie McGinley was 135th for Minnesota. Megan Amundson beat-out teammate Tiffany Barren by three places in a sprint for 149th-place, and Anne Marshall rounded out the Golden Gopher’s scoring in 168th-place.