Korzenowski ready for success in 2019 cross country season

The redshirt sophomore secured her first career win at the Oz Memorial.

Redshirt Sophomore Anastasia Korzenowski rounds a turn at the Les Bolstad Golf Course during the Oz Memorial on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. (Kamaan Richards / Minnesota Daily)

Kamaan Richards

Redshirt Sophomore Anastasia Korzenowski rounds a turn at the Les Bolstad Golf Course during the Oz Memorial on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. (Kamaan Richards / Minnesota Daily)

Brendan O'Brien

At the beginning of the season, Head Coach Sarah Hopkins and the rest of the women’s cross country team at Minnesota knew different runners would need to step in and be leaders for the team throughout the fall.

Redshirt sophomore Anastasia Korzenowski is one of the early candidates to do so this season. Korzenowski impressed earlier this month at the Oz Memorial by leading the pack throughout the meet and securing her first career win. 

It is an encouraging sign for Korzenowski, who a year ago finished as one of the top Minnesota runners in each of the seven races she ran. At both the NCAA Midwest Regional and the NCAA Championship, the final two races of the season, she finished fifth.

Korzenowski is also excited for the opportunity to be a leader for the women’s team. While she has shown that she can be a top runner for the Gophers, Korzenowski is primarily focused on the success of the whole team. 

“I want to do the best I can for the team and I know that someone had to step up and put themselves in the position,” Korzenowski said. 

As most people would expect from a collegiate cross country runner, Korzenowski loves racing and having the opportunity to compete but admits that training can be challenging for her. The three-week period between meets has made it even more difficult for Korzenowski as the team does not compete again until Saturday, Sept. 28th at the Roy Griak Invitational. 

Nevertheless, Korzenowski and her teammates are using this time to prepare for upcoming meets.

“It gives us a great opportunity to really build ourselves up and get a really strong block in together … without having to worry about tapering off for the races,” Korzenowski said. “It gives us a chance to get those big tough workouts in but still be fully ready to go.”

Hopkins knows that Korzenowski will “scratch and claw” during any meet. But in the offseason, Hopkins challenged Korzenowski to focus more on aspects outside of running which can improve her performance. Hopkins wants the redshirt sophomore to treat her recovery, nutrition and even her sleep as if if were a competition. Thus far, Hopkins is impressed with Korzenowski’s progress.

“Her maturation as an athlete is getting better and [she is] better at being competitive the other 22 hours of the day,” Hopkins said.

Heading into the next meet, Korzenowski thinks the Roy Griak Invitational, where she finished sixth among Gopher runners and 24th overall last season, will be a good opportunity to see how this training period has helped the team improve. But Korzenowski is mostly excited for having yet another opportunity to do what she loves most: race.