Rocky’s Run marks end of season for most runners as top athletes rest

Those not running the NCAA regional Nov. 9 will compete this weekend.

Drew Claussen

The Gophers men’s cross country team will travel to St. John’s this weekend for the Fall Finale, where its second group of runners will end the season against lesser competition.

“The Fall Finale will be basically for guys that didn’t get a chance to run at the Big Ten,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “It’s an opportunity for some of them to get one last race.”

Minnesota sent 13 runners to last year’s Fall Finale, and those 13 finished in order atop the leaderboard.

The race will be used for some runners to potentially make their way back onto the scoring team if the Gophers make it to nationals. If not, the run will be an audition of sorts for next season.

“For some guys, it’s a springboard for track and field season,” Plasencia said.

Four varsity runners will travel to Collegeville, Minn., for the race along with some unattached runners who will travel up on their own.

“That’s pretty much the way these distance runners are,” Plasencia said. “They’re all in, they want to get better, they want to run well, and it’s kind of a discipline sport obviously.”

A team manager will accompany the group of runners to St. John’s because the coaching staff is tied up with recruits on campus this weekend.

Women end season at Rocky’s Run

For the second time in three weeks, the Gophers women’s team will host a charity race at Les Bolstad Golf Course.

Like Jack’s Run, which was held two weeks ago, the proceeds from Rocky’s Run will go to a charity — the Rocky Racette Foundation.

Racette was a Gophers All-American who died in a car accident in 1981.

The run also mirrors Jack’s Run in that Minnesota will not compete against other teams.

The runners who will compete in the NCAA regional won’t run at Rocky’s.

“A lot of times you get to this time of year and you’re going, ‘Oh, I didn’t make the Big Ten team,’” head coach Gary Wilson said after Jack’s Run. “Now they go, ‘OK, let’s focus for [Jack’s], let’s focus for Rocky’s and stay with it’ because someday you’re going to be in this top group.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams will travel to the NCAA regional Nov. 9 in Springfield, Mo.