Gophers finish second at Indiana Open as three runners finish top seven

Bethany Hasz led the Gophers with a fourth-place finish.

The Gophers women's cross country team prepares for the Indiana Open during the Intrasquad 5k on Sept. 1, 2017 at Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul.

Max Ostenso

The Gophers women’s cross country team prepares for the Indiana Open during the Intrasquad 5k on Sept. 1, 2017 at Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul.

Anthony Bryant

Three runners on the Minnesota women’s cross country team kicked off their 2017 seasons with a spark. 

At the Indiana 5k Open Saturday, Bethany Hasz, her sister Megan Hasz and Madeline Strandemo all placed in the top seven, as the Gophers placed second overall in Bloomington, Indiana. 

Bethany Hasz led the Gophers with a fourth-place time of 17:46.5, as her sister Megan Hasz followed right behind in fifth place with a time of 17:48.9. Strandemo, who was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team in 2016, finished seventh (17:49.5). Bailey Ness (18:10.3), Courtney Alama (18:19.2), Emily Betz (18:20.5) placed 14th, 21st, 23rd, respectively.

“I’m really excited about this season,” said head coach Sarah Hopkins. “We have everyone back from the top nine of last year. We have more experience and a group with really big goals.”

The Gophers (51 points) finished runner-up to host Indiana (40 points), as Ohio State (62), Wisconsin (84), and Miami Ohio (116) followed in the team standings. Though Minnesota only just started its season, Hopkins already has high expectations for a veteran-led group that looks to improve from last season.

“I would give us a B for where we want to be,” Hopkins said. “Indiana’s a very good team, but we know we didn’t run a perfect race. We just have to make sure we do all of the little things right, even at week two. I thought the new kids handled it really well, so that’s a good sign. When the lights come on, they’re even better.”  

The “new kids” coach Hopkins was referring to were Abby Kohut-Jackson (18:32.1), Lindsey Greenlund (18:41.7), and Zetta Mason (18:47.3), who all made their official collegiate debuts and all placed in the top 40.

Strandemo shared her coach’s feelings on the first race of the season, as she looks to leave a lasting a legacy going into her final year.   

“The race was good,” Strandemo said. “We’re in the middle of hard training right now, but it was fun to get back out there with my team.”