Gophers cross country finishes 28th at NCAA Championship

Redshirt junior Abby Kohut-Jackson was the top runner for Minnesota, finishing 110th.

Redshirt Junior Abby Kohut-Jackson, right, competes in the Oz Memorial at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Friday, Oct. 6.

Image by Kamaan Richards

Redshirt Junior Abby Kohut-Jackson, right, competes in the Oz Memorial at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Friday, Oct. 6.

by Brendan O'Brien

The Minnesota women’s cross country team ended the cross country season Saturday with a 28th place finish at the NCAA Championship meet hosted by Indiana State.

The Gophers finished with 691 points, which placed them 28th out of 31 competing teams. Coming into the championship meet, the Gophers were ranked No. 27.

Redshirt junior Abby Kohut-Jackson finished as the top runner for the Gophers. Kohut-Jackson placed 110th with a 6-kilometer time of 21:18.8. This was the second meet of the season she was the lead runner for the Gophers. She led Minnesota at the Nuttycombe Invitational in mid-October.

After being Minnesota’s lead runner for a majority of the season, redshirt sophomore Anastasia Korzenowski finished as the second-best Gopher with a time of 21:47.8. Redshirt junior Sarah Werking finished closely behind Korzenowski at 21:50.8. Redshirt junior Zetta Mason and redshirt sophomore Jaycie Thomsen rounded out the top five overall runners for the Gophers.

The story for the women’s cross country team coming into the season was they would need some runners to step up. Megan and Bethany Hasz were the top runners for Minnesota last season but redshirted this season. The team also lost a key runner and leader in Patty O’Brien. The Gophers also qualified for the NCAA Championship meet last year, finishing 29th.

Runners did in fact step up for the Gophers this season as they extended their streak of qualifying for the championship meet. Korzenowski led the Gophers in a majority of the meets this season.

The Gophers had several runners improve from 2018 to this season. Kohut-Jackson was the fourth-best runner for the Gophers at the championship meet in 2018 but finished as the lead runner this year. Korzenowski and Thomsen finished fifth and sixth respectively at last season’s championship meet. Werking and Mason did not compete on the championship team last season but helped Minnesota finish better at the NCAA Championship meet this season. 

Arkansas took home the team title with 96 points after coming into the meet as the favorite to win the championship. BYU finished closely behind with 102 points and three runners in the top 10. Colorado, last year’s champion, finished 10th.

Junior Weini Kelati of New Mexico won the individual title with a time of 19:47.5. Kelati finished two seconds faster at the championship meet last season but finished second.

As the cross country season comes to an end, Minnesota will now focus on the track and field season. The Gophers will host the Minnesota Open, an indoor track and field meet on Saturday, Jan.11.