Gophers cross country successful in Wisconsin meets

Minnesota split its teams for three meets in Wisconsin over the weekend.

Junior Obsa Ali runs in the Merrill Fischbein Men's Gold race at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Les Bolstad golf course.

Chelsea Gortmaker, Daily File Photo

Junior Obsa Ali runs in the Merrill Fischbein Men’s Gold race at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Les Bolstad golf course.

Alyssa Hodenfield

The Minnesota cross country teams split this weekend to compete
in the Nuttycombe Invitational at the University of Wisconsin Friday and the
Jim Drews and Tori Neubauer Invitational Saturday.

The women’s team took 16th out of 31 teams at the invitational against
some of the top teams in the country. The Gophers fell only 80 points short of a
top-eight team finish. 

“I thought we had a really good fight today. Obviously it’s one
of the deepest fields in the country,” said head coach Sarah Hopkins. “I was
really pleased with the fight of our group. Everybody really battled through
the whole race. That’s the mark of a good team. [It] just keeps fighting all
the way through. I was really pleased with them for that.”

The top runners for the women’s team were freshmen Megan Hasz in
28th (20:44.0) and Bethany Hasz in 42nd (20:54.7).

“I’m really happy with how I raced and how the team did as a
whole. I think we all had a really good day,” Megan Hasz said. “It was really
exciting to do as well as I did in such a deep field, and there was some great
competition for everyone today.”

The men’s team placed 22nd out of 30 teams with a score of 540.

Junior Obsa Ali was a key runner for the men’s team Friday
afternoon. He placed 48th (24:35.5), followed by junior Charlie Lawrence
(24:52.5) and freshman Connor Olson (25:02.9).

The Minnesota men’s running club and the Gophers women’s team
competed in Ettrick, Wis. at the Jim Drews and Tori Neubauer Invitational
Saturday morning to finish off the road trip.

The men’s running club took fifth out of 20 teams in the Jim
Drews Invitational and beat in-state opponent Gustavus Adolphus College by a
narrow six points.

The women finished third out of 22 teams with 117 points  and trailed only Nebraska Wesleyan University
and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Redshirt junior Naomi Ollila led the team in 14th (23:14.9),
followed by redshirt freshman Ally Smith (23:20.5) and redshirt junior Sarah
Klecker (23:21.2).

“We all feel like there are points on the board that we can keep
getting, which is fun,” Hopkins said. “It’s a confidence builder in some ways
to know that we succeed and we beat some really good teams and didn’t feel like
we had the perfect day. I think knowing that there are places we can improve
makes everybody excited going forward.”