Teams run to winning starts

The women’s team took home the top spot while the men’s team came in second at the meet.

Redshirt junior Charlie Lawrence approaches the finish line of the Oz Memorial at Les Bolstad Golf Course on Sept. 11, 2015.

Maddy Fox

Redshirt junior Charlie Lawrence approaches the finish line of the Oz Memorial at Les Bolstad Golf Course on Sept. 11, 2015.

Alyssa Hodenfield

Both Minnesota cross country teams kicked off their seasons on Friday with the Oz Memorial meet at home. The Gophers went up against Wisconsin, South Dakota State and Drake University in the meet and combined for six top-10 finishes.

Women’s finish with 12 in top-20:

The No. 26 Minnesota women’s cross country team had 12 runners finish in the top 20, propelling them to the team title.

“We were really pleased,” head coach Sarah Hopkins said. “The team goal was to win, and with Wisconsin there, it’s nice to get a win over a Big Ten school that’s kind of a rival.”

Redshirt junior Madeline Strandemo placed second overall with a time of 22:26.1 and fell seven seconds behind Wisconsin’s redshirt freshman, Shaelyn Sorensen .

“I was happy to be the first [of the Gophers] obviously, but I think being the first overall would have been better,” Strandemo said. “We had a really tough week of training and this is just the beginning of the season.”

Freshman Megan Hasz and redshirt sophomore Bailey Ness finished in third and fourth, respectively.

“The rest of the team and I had a pretty hefty week, so I think all of us were a bit tired going in,” Ness said. “But we all still managed to have great races and compete the way that we should.”

Men’s finish second:

The Gophers’ men’s cross country team claimed a second-place finish behind No. 10 Wisconsin.

The men had three runners finish with top-10 spots, led by redshirt junior Matt Welch who finished fifth.

“To open up with a fifth-place finish like that, and as a team we were second to the tenth ranked team in the nation was exciting,” Welch said. “It’s a great stepping stone.”

Welch posted a time of 20:06.4, which put him in fifth place overall.

The men’s team didn’t open their season with an intra-squad meet, an advantage the women’s team had.

“Where we’re at in our training, we haven’t done many hard workouts. We’re very strength-oriented right now,” Welch said. “To be able to compete the way that we did was very impressive to say the least.”

Minnesota redshirt junior Charlie Lawrence finished in eighth while redshirt freshman Connor Olson ran a tenth-place mark in his first race to round out Minnesota’s top finishers of the evening.

Both teams will take a week off from competing to prepare for the annual Roy Griak Invitational at home on Sept. 24.

“We had a good night to open the season in a very competitive race,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “Now we know what it will take to have success later this month at the Griak.”