Minnesota impresses at Adidas Invite

Minnesota’s men and women had different results in Wisconsin.

Minnesota junior Molly Kayfes runs in the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at Les Bolstad Golf Course.

Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo

Minnesota junior Molly Kayfes runs in the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at Les Bolstad Golf Course.

Betsy Helfand

Gophers head coach Sarah Hopkins said her team is right where she wants it to be at this point in the season.

No. 22 Minnesota finished eighth out of 37 teams at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in a field rich with talented teams.

“This is the time of year when you want to start running well, and we definitely are,” Hopkins said.

The race was the team’s last checkpoint before the Big Ten championships early next month.

Redshirt sophomore Becca Dyson, who finished sixth for the Gophers, likened the meet to being the team’s second midterm of the year.

“If you think of a class … this one is more like 35 to 40 percent of our grade for the season,” Dyson said. “So [it’s] an important meet, but not the end-all-be-all.”

She said the team was thrilled with the results.

“None of us could say we had perfect races, but our goal coming in was top-eight,” Dyson said. “And we hit that right on the dot.”

Junior Molly Kayfes led the way for the Gophers in the 6K with a time of 20:36. Senior Laura Docherty followed just two seconds later.

There was only a 20-second difference between Kayfes and the team’s fifth finisher, senior Maggie Bollig.

Kayfes said that at first, the team didn’t think it placed well.

“When Hopkins came and told us how we did … we were surprised. I don’t think there was one person that felt that good,” Kayfes said. “Our legs were not feeling the best.”

Kayfes said this meet gives the team an idea of where they can finish at the end of the year, as the Gophers beat numerous ranked teams, including No. 4 Washington, No. 10 San Francisco and No. 15 Cornell.

“I think this is the closest thing we’ve had to everybody hitting at the same time,” Hopkins said. “But again, we know we can keep upping that.”

Hopkins said the team is running well, but not at its best, which is a good thing heading into the three major meets of the season.

“I think we know that we’re not quite the best we can be yet,” she said, “so that’s a good place to be.”

Men finish 29th

Gophers head men’s coach Steve Plasencia only needed one word to describe his team’s performance over the weekend: dissatisfaction.

His team was coming off a fourth-place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational, which propelled it into the national rankings.

Saturday’s meet was a setback, to say the least.

Senior John Simons, the team’s top runner this season, finished 257th overall.

“He got in the position where you might have expected him to be for the first mile or two, but then he just started going backward,” Plasencia said. “For whatever reason, he just didn’t have it today.”

Plasencia said Simons didn’t feel well from the get-go and said he felt a little lightheaded.

“When you have a guy that’s been legitimately your first guy … given where we are as a team, that’s a pretty hard blow to take,” Plasencia said.

Simons’ performance wasn’t the only problem the Gophers faced. Plasencia said he thought the team had subpar performances across the board.

Senior Derek Storkel finished 95th overall and first for the Gophers. Senior Andrew Larsen placed second for the Gophers, just a second after Storkel.

Minnesota doesn’t race again until the Big Ten championships, and Plasencia said it will need to use this result as motivation for the next race.

“I think time is a great healer,” he said. “But I don’t want the pain of today to be in the rearview mirror. I hope it hurts.”