U runner fights flu, takes 9th

Ryan Schuster

Imagine battling the flu, nervousness and dehydration all while running a 5,000-meter race.
That’s just what Gophers senior women’s cross country runner Keri Zweig had to do during the Roy Griak Invitational last weekend where she placed a disappointing 144th. What a difference a few days can make.
Only five days later, Zweig recovered to place ninth overall at the Eau Claire Invitational on Friday.
“It was really different from Roy Griak with a totally different atmosphere,” Zweig said. “I was better than last week. I raced better (Friday) than I had before.”
Zweig led Minnesota to a fourth-place finish with a time of 18 minutes, 49 seconds. She recorded her best time of the season, trimming almost 20 seconds off her Griak time.
“Zweiger had to get back in the saddle,” said women’s cross country coach Gary Wilson. “She was just getting real nervous before races, but she’s calmer and handling things better now. It was a good confidence builder for her to run a solid race.”
The Gophers, running without their top nine runners, finished with 140 points, just six more than third-place Wisconsin–Eau Claire tallied. In cross country the lowest score wins.
“We did well, but we probably could have done better,” Zweig said. “We did the best we could for that day.”
Four Minnesota runners, including Zweig completed the course in less than 20 minutes. Junior Andrea Swansby finished in 19:19, sophomore Nikki Rassbach had a time of 19:38 and freshman Beth Cordes recorded a mark of 19:43.
Wilson held out all of his top runners except Zweig to give the second-team harriers an opportunity. The invitational consisted mostly of smaller colleges from Minnesota and Wisconsin, offering a slower pace for the second-teamers.
“It was a good chance,” Wilson said. “It’s nice to give the second group time to run.”
Wilson was especially proud of the performance of Cordes. “That kid is going to be good some day,” he said. “She’s only been running for a few years.”
It will be three weeks before the second squad will have another chance to perform. They will compete at the Minnesota Open on Oct. 26 at the University’s Les Bolstad Golf Course.
Minnesota’s top twelve runners, including Zweig, will travel to Alabama on Saturday to compete in the Auburn Invitational.