Casual meets offer final race for some runners

Both the men’s and women’s teams will rest their top runners in preparation for NCAA Regionals.

Dane Mizutani

The Gophers womenâÄôs cross country team will host a low-key meet this weekend to conclude the season for the non-scorers.

After placing fifth at the Big Ten championships, Minnesota will host RockyâÄôs Run at Les Bolstad Golf Course on Sunday.

Runners scheduled to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships will have the weekend off from competition.

âÄúItâÄôs about finishing the season off and trying to set [personal bests] from earlier in the year, and thatâÄôs always a goal,âÄù womenâÄôs head coach Gary Wilson said.

Similar to JackâÄôs Run from two weeks ago, RockyâÄôs Run serves as a tribute meet and is open to the public.

This meet is named in honor of Rocky Racette and it will benefit the foundation named in her honor.

Racette was a former Gophers All-American who died in a car accident in 1981.

âÄúItâÄôs just a chance for us to honor one of our all-time greats and add to the scholarship fund and always remember your history,âÄù Wilson said.

âÄúI just donâÄôt want anybody ever to forget where the program was and where itâÄôs come from.âÄù

Men headed to St. JohnâÄôs

After a third place finish at the Big Ten championships in Champaign, Ill., last weekend, the Gophers menâÄôs cross country team will compete Friday in the St. JohnâÄôs Fall Finale.

This meet offers the second-string runners a chance to run in their final competition of the season.

âÄúItâÄôs definitely, first and foremost, a chance for our guys to get one more competition,âÄù menâÄôs head coach Steve Plasencia said. âÄúWeâÄôve also had some pretty good times up at that meet in terms of what guys have been able to run up there.âÄù

The Gophers dominated the meet last season, recording a perfect score of 15 against mainly Division III competition.

Blayne Dulian, Paul Hilsen, Kevin Lachowitzer, Sean Olson, Drew Paradis, Derek Storkel and Matt Volz will compete in uniform for the Gophers this season.

Unattached runners will have to make the trip on their own, but there are a few âÄútalking about going up there,âÄù according to Plasencia.

âÄúItâÄôs not a pressure-filled environment,âÄù Plasencia said. âÄúItâÄôs a short trip, but I think itâÄôs a fun meet to be involved in. That helps end cross country on a good note for a lot of guys.âÄù

 None of the athletes running in the Nov. 12 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in DeKalb, Ill., will run at the St. JohnâÄôs Fall Finale.