Minnesota men’s team second at regional

Both the men and women’s teams will run in the final meet of the 2015 season.

Redshirt senior Adam Zutz runs at the 2015 Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Sept. 26.

Bridget Bennett, Daily File Photo

Redshirt senior Adam Zutz runs at the 2015 Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Sept. 26.

Thomas Jaakola

The men’s cross country team used its momentum from the Big Ten Championships in a big way on Friday.
 
No. 26 Minnesota finished in second place overall at the 2015 NCAA Midwest Regional by scoring 95 points to Oklahoma State’s 59 and advanced to its first NCAA Championship as a team since 2011.
 
Redshirt senior Aaron Bartnik led the way for the team in just his second race back from an injury and finished in 12th place with a 10-kilometer time of 30:18.1. His performance earned him his second career All-Region honor.
 
Sophomore Obsa Ali wasn’t far behind in 14th place, finishing in a time of 30:21.6 and earning his first career All-Region honor.
 
Redshirt senior Adam Zutz crossed the line in 18th place in a time of 30:25.1, just ahead of redshirt sophomore Charlie Lawrence, who finished in 19th place with a time of 30:25.6. Both runners earned All-Region honors for their performances.
 
Redshirt senior Christian Skaret completed the team’s scoring by finishing in 32nd place and in a time of 30:59.3.
 
“We were patient in the first half and ran with heart and pride in the second half,” Bartnik said. “My favorite part was seeing the opposing team’s coaches in the later part of the race. They were stunned when they saw our top five so far up in the race, and they started shouting at their guys, ‘Watch out for Minnesota. You can’t let this gold pack pass you.’ And of course that just motivated us to pass even more people.”
 
Redshirt sophomores Matt Welch and Eric Colvin closed out the race for the team, with Welch finishing in 56th place in 31:25.2, and Colvin crossing the line in 100th place in a time of 32:05.1.
 
“We’ve been down to the course before, which I thought was an advantage for us because the guys knew what to expect,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “It’s a pretty tough cross country course, and over the second half our guys just kept streaming by them. It was really well done.”
 
The women advance to NCAA Championships
 
Redshirt senior Liz Berkholtz and redshirt junior Haley Johnson led No. 21 Minnesota to a third place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Friday, with the team’s 125 points coming in behind Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
 
The Gophers did not automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships based on their finish at the meet, but the team won an at-large bid on Saturdayto advance to the
championship meet for the 11th straight year. 
 
Berkholtz earned her second career All-Region honor and finished in 11th place in a time of 20:36.9, while Johnson finished in 13th place with a career-best time of 20:38.3. Johnson earned her first career All-Region honor.
 
Redshirt senior Kaila Urick finished in 23rd place in a time of 21:03.7 and was followed by redshirt sophomore Madeline Strandemo, who took 34th place in the race while
crossing the line in 21:15.2. Redshirt junior Jamie Piepenburg rounded out the team’s scoring by finishing in 40th place in 21:23.8.
 
“I think overall I would give us a ‘B’ in terms of team performance,” Berkholtz said. “We know we are better than what we showed, but we still got the job done. I personally had a bit of an off day, but more challenging courses are not to my strengths. Haley Johnson and Jamie Piepenburg had great days, and we needed them to be on.”