Women finish respectably at Adidas Invite

The meet had the stiffest competition the Gophers have faced this season.

Drew Claussen

The Gophers women’s cross country team left room for improvement, but it managed a respectable 16th-place finish in the 48-team Wisconsin Adidas Invitational over the weekend in Madison, Wis.

The women’s race featured a plethora of top-tier teams — 20 of the top 30, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaching

“We beat a bunch of teams that were ranked ahead of us. We beat a bunch of Big Ten teams,” volunteer assistant coach Sarah Hesser said. “Then again, we look back and felt like we should have [beaten] one or two more teams in a big field like that, because it’s always very close at the end.”

Laura Docherty and Molly Kayfes finished first and second on the team, respectively — a common result for the two runners this season. Docherty finished 51st, and Kayfes finished 55th out of 327 total runners.

“It’s a very fast course — if you’re two or three seconds too far back, even as early as 500 [meters], you end up fighting traffic the whole way,” Hesser said. “Last year we got stuck back a little ways. The girls did a much better job of getting out a little harder this year.”

Minnesota finished tied for 16th with Boston College. Iowa State took the team title. The Cyclones also claimed the Roy Griak Invitational title in late September.

Second group gets first

A day after the Adidas Invitational, Minnesota’s second group of women’s team runners claimed the title at Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Tori Neubauer Invitational.

The Gophers finished with 82 points, 17 better than second-place Wartburg.

Stephanie Solfelt, Kait Mincke and Jessica Schmidt all finished within two seconds of each other to place ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively.

Men finish 22nd

It was easy to sense the disappointment in Steve Plasencia’s voice after his team finished 22nd in the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational.

“We wanted to get some at-large points, and I don’t think we really did a good job accomplishing that,” Plasencia said. “So from that standpoint, it hurts, but there’s a lot of running to be done yet this year.”

Plasencia said that the poor finish was in large part because his runners got caught in traffic.

“I think we got a lesson in the fact that we can’t get out slow in a field of that size,” Plasencia said. “I think the guys know that now.”

Senior Pieter Gagnon and junior Andrew Larsen paced Minnesota with 80th- and 82nd-place finishes, respectively. However, they were the only Gophers runners to finish in the top-100.

“Our guys were just too far back, and with 320 guys racing, there’s just too many bodies to get around if you get out slow,” Plasencia said.

Stanford won the 45-team meet, and all five of its runners placed between 17th and 45th.

The meet was the last tune-up for the Gophers before heading to the Big Ten championships in East Lansing, Mich., later this month.

“The good thing is we have a Big Ten meet in two weeks,” Plasencia said. “I think we probably beat five of the teams in the Big Ten here, and we lost to three.”

Plasencia said the team would use the teams that beat them to measure their improvement from now to the Big Ten championships.

“We’re going to be ready for the next time out,” Plasencia said. “I think it’s a little bit of a wake-up call factor in that.”