Berkholtz leads Gophers to 15th

Three redshirt juniors led the team at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.

Matt Greenstein

The Gophers women’s cross country team came into the Wisconsin adidas Invitational looking for a top-15 finish.

Minnesota accomplished that Friday, finishing 15th in a field of 38, which included some of the top teams in the country.

Head coach Sarah Hopkins gave the team a “B.”

“You can’t be too upset when you put up a solid performance at this time of year,” Hopkins said.

Redshirt juniors Liz Berkholtz, Becca Dyson and Kaila Urick led Minnesota.

Berkholtz said the Gophers shouldn’t be “too bummed” about their performance.

She said there were “good individual performances across the board.”

Berkholtz placed 35th overall at the meet, which she attributed to the top runners staying close together.

“Becca Dyson was behind me for a lot of the race … and Kaila wasn’t too far off, so I think we did a pretty good job of hanging on with each other,” Berkholtz said.

She said the top three did a good job of sticking to their race strategy, but as a team, the Gophers needed to be up further.

“We needed to do a better job of getting out a little faster for sure,” Berkholtz said.

Despite that, Hopkins said she has “no doubt” that the team will be where it needs to be in the coming weeks while preparing for the Big Ten championships.

Hopkins said she would rest her Big Ten roster while the remainder of the team competes in Jack’s Twilight Run on Saturday.

Members of the team’s second group competed in the Tori Neubauer Invitational over the weekend and finished fifth as a team.

Men finish in the middle

Similar to the women’s team, the men faced fierce competition at the meet, finishing 20th overall.

Head coach Steve Plasencia said the team fell short of what it hoped to do.

“We were a little bit off what I think we’d hoped,” Plasencia said.

Redshirt junior Aaron Bartnik said the team was complacent, and that showed in its performance.

“I think we panicked a little bit. We wanted to get out a little bit harder as a team than we ended up getting out. I think some guys got a little nervous looking around,” Bartnik said.

He said guys on the team saw higher ranked teams around them, and that seemed to affect their performance.

“I think that prevented them from continuing to move up throughout the race,” Bartnik said.

Bartnik was the Gophers’ lead runner, placing 29th overall at the highly competitive meet.

He said he thought the team would turn it around in time for the Big Ten championships in two weeks.

“After today we still ran pretty decent, but we were all a little bit disappointed with the performance,” he said. “Every person on our team is going to do everything that they can to perform to their 100 percent capability at the Big Ten championship.”