Gophers cross country miss the mark to Nationals

The Minnesota women’s cross country team will send Strandemo to the national meet, but will not attend as a team.

Source: gophersports.com

Source: gophersports.com

Alyssa Hodenfield

The Minnesota cross country teams sent 14 runners to Iowa City, Iowa over the weekend to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional meet, but only one runner will head to the national finals.

The No. 26 women’s cross country team came in fourth overall with three top-15 finishes, but it was not enough to receive a bid to the NCAA Championship. It is the first time in 11 years that the team will not run in the meet.

“We didn’t run poorly. We just probably didn’t do quite enough to get to nationals,” said head coach Sarah Hopkins. “It’s a little bittersweet, I guess, because it’s not necessarily the way we wanted to end, but I think we did what we could do on the day, and you can’t be too disappointed when you do as well as you can the day of [the meet].”

Redshirt junior Madeline Strandemo led the pack in the 6K race, finishing seventh (20:23.7). She improved her personal best time by almost 20 seconds. Strandemo’s finish was enough to secure her one of 38 spots in the individual competition at the NCAA Championship meet.

“I thought it was a really good day. I came out with my goal and had a lifetime PR, so I was happy about that,” Strandemo said. “Qualifying as an individual is pretty cool thing to do.”

Strandemo was followed by freshmen Megan Hasz in ninth (20:27.7) and Bethany Hasz (20:32.6) in 12th. All three received all-region honors.

Two other Minnesota runners, Bailey Ness and Emily Betz, had personal-best marks in the meet.

The Minnesota men’s cross country team came in seventh overall at the regional meet with 205 points.

The team was led in the 10K race by junior Obsa Ali in 14th (30:42.1), followed by redshirt junior Charlie Lawrence in 18th (30:45.5) and redshirt freshman Connor Olson in 29th (30:58.0).

A field of 31 teams and 38 individuals will head to Indiana State’s LaVern Gibson Championship Course to compete at the NCAA Championship meet on Saturday. Strandemo will be the only Gophers runner from either team competing.

“Now it’s just about resting and regenerating and just trying to make sure that we’re fresh and ready to go to start another training cycle,” Hopkins said. “The nice thing for us is that we just get back into indoor track, so it’s not a lot of rest and time to dwell on it. We’ve just got to get ready for the next season.”