Gophers finish third at NCAA Midwest Regional, head to Nationals

The No. 13 Gophers were led by Megan Hasz who finished fifth overall.

Megan Hasz competes at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul.

Courtney Deutz, Daily File Photo

Megan Hasz competes at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul.

Anthony Bryant

The Gophers looked to grab hold of their spot in the upcoming race with the cross country NCAA Championships.

Minnesota finished third at the NCAA Midwest Regional Friday in Ames, Iowa to secure its bid for the NCAA Championships. The No. 13 Gophers were led by Megan Hasz who finished fifth overall with a time of 20:18.8. Not far behind, Madeline Strandemo (20:19.7) and Bethany Hasz (20:21.0) placed sixth and seventh. All three earned All-Region honors.

“This is a course we’ve been to a couple years back,” said head coach Sarah Hopkins. 

The Gophers proved experience with a course can help. Redshirt freshman Abby Kohut-Jackson (21:13.6) and junior Bailey Ness (21:14.3) set personal bests at the six kilometer race and finished 50th and 51st to round out scoring for the team.

“Two weeks ago we were second in the Big Ten, the highest we’ve been since 2009,” Hopkins said. “We’re excited about where we are right now.” 

Iowa State finished first in the overall team standings with 90 points. Oklahoma State (103), Minnesota (119), Missouri (215) and South Dakota (252) rounded out the top five. While some teams may see the weather as something to avoid, Minnesota embraced it. 

“Being from Minnesota, we kind of could spin the weather in our advantage,” Hopkins said. “We know how to handle it.” 

The Gophers will compete on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, where the team hopes to carry the momentum they’ve gained and put it on the course.

“The goal is to be a top-10 national team at the national meet,” said Hopkins.