Michniovaite wins regional,

Minnesota junior Rasa Michniovaite won the 1998 NCAA Midwest Regional meet in Augusta, Kan., on Saturday with a time of 17:07.4 for 5,000 meters.
Michniovaite’s win is the first ever for a Gopher at an NCAA regional meet. She qualified for the NCAA championship meet on Nov. 23 in Lawrence, Kan.
Led by Michniovaite and sophomore Elaine Eggleston’s eighth place finish, the Gophers finished third overall, behind Kansas State and Missouri.
“It was a phenomenal race,” Gopher’s coach Gary Wilson said. “Corrine Nimtz didn’t tell anyone she has been sick all week. During the race Eggleston went from 20th to 8th. It was a race of heroes and everyone responded.”
NCAA tournament at-large bids will be announced Monday. Minnesota is ranked 24th in the country, and is likely to earn an invitation on the strength of its regional finish.

Men’s X-C third
Minnesota men’s cross country team finished third with 100 points at the NCAA District 5 Championships this weekend in Wichita, Kan.
Junior Eric Pierce led the Gophers with a seventh-place finish. Junior Jeremy Polson and sophomore Joey Corr finished 13th and 16th respectively.
Oklahoma State won the championship with 42 points. Iowa finished second with 81 points.
The top two teams in each district receive automatic bids to the NCAA Championships Nov. 23 in Lawrence, Kan. The Gophers’ third-place finish means they have to receive one of 13 at-large bids, which will be announced on Monday.
“Our goal was an automatic bid,” Gophers coach Steve Plascencia said. “But Iowa really ran well. We have a very strong hope for a bid, and I think we have a really strong chance of getting one.”

Women’s hockey explodes
Minnesota women’s hockey completed a two-game sweep in northern Minnesota this weekend, destroying Minnesota-Duluth 10-0 on Sunday and Bemidji State 10-0 on Saturday.
Against the Bulldogs, freshman and 1998 Olympic champion Jenny Schmidgall scored four times and assisted on one other, and freshman Tracy Engstrom scored twice.
“It feels good,” Schmidgall said. “It just sort of happened, but if I had gotten four assists, it would have been just as good.”
On Saturday, the Gophers blew out Bemidji State in similar fashion.
Senior Amber Hegland and sophomore Nadine Muzerall each scored two goals, and the Gophers outshot the Beavers by an incredible 68-1.
“Both Minnesota-Duluth and Bemidji State have very young programs,” Gophers coach Laura Halldorson said. “We didn’t know what to expect, but it was nice to take a road trip and it was a great experience for us.”

Women’s swimming
Minnesota’s women’s swimming team had four competitors at the Swim Meet of Champions in Evanston, Ill. The meet consists of the top swimmers from the Big Ten and the U.S. national team.
Jenny Hennen finished third in the 100 butterfly. Jenny Smedstad placed fifth in the 400 individual medley, and Katy Christoferson sixth.
The 12th ranked Gophers will host the Minnesota Invitational this weekend at the Aquatic Center.

Gymnastics signs three
Minnesota women’s gymnastics announced that three athletes have signed letters of intent to attend Minnesota next fall: Jennifer Alf, Leigh Dixon and Kelly Watson.
Alf, a native of Rippon, Wis., finished second in floor exercises at the Junior Olympics Nationals this year.
Dixon was the Level 10 California Champion on vault, balance beam, floor exercises and the all-around. She qualified for regional championships, placing fourth in the all-around.
Watson was a member of the Ontario Tour Selection Team in 1998, and took first on the balance beam and third in all around at the Ontario Championships in ’97.
“We have three wonderful recruits coming,” Gophers co-coach Jim Stephenson said. “They were all in the top-tier in high school, both in America and Canada. This year’s freshman class is the best we’ve had here, and now we’ll get to add on to that.

Men’s tennis
Junior Martin Michalowski and sophomore Jon Svensson were the lone Gophers to win their singles matches on the opening day of the Husky Fall Challenge in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday.
The three-team tournament, which includes Washington and Oregon, only plays singles groups with no team scores.
Results of Sunday’s matches were unavailable at press time.