Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Round-Up: Gopher Women Rise to #4; Men Drop to #25; Class AA Girls Muddy Again

On a sad day for the sport in Minnesota, here's a round-up of the latest news ...

Gopher Women Ranked #4 ... On the strength of their narrow, homestretch-won victory at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, the University of Minnesota women find themselves ranked #4 in the latest NCAA Division I coaches' poll. It's the highest ranking the team has ever achieved. The team edged #6 Arizona State by three points thanks, in no small part, to Heather Dorniden's point-eating, closing kick as the team's 5th scorer.

Gopher Men Fall to #25 ... The Golden Gopher men dropped to #25 in the Division I rankings after finishing 4th in their home invitational. The men had been ranked #18 going into the event. Minnesota ran without Mike Torchia who was nursing an injury. Chris Rombough, who finished 3rd overall still has high hopes for his Gophers come nationals, according to THIS Flotrack video.

Chaska Meet Muddies Class AA Girls' Picture ... Same as it ever was, your guess is as good as mine as to who the top Class girls squad is. Eden Prairie which seemed to be setting itself apart with a string a close victories over top competition -- they finally earned the #1 ranking in Monday's ratings -- placed 3rd in the rain-soaked Victoria Lions Invitational in Chaska yesterday behind winners #5 Lakeville North (the pre-season #1) and #3 Minnetonka.

Eden Prairie's Cassie Opitz did win the individual race over #1 ranked individual Danielle Berndt of Bloomington Kennedy, and earned some nice ink in the Star-Tribune today.

I'm Trying to Qualify for the Olympic Trials Here ... Melisa Gacek tells DtB that the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday where she qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials was sort of weird: "It was the quietest race I've ever been in. After the half marathoners split from us, I was completely alone ... not a soul in sight or coming behind me. Very strange and curious ... especially with 1/2 to go and being at a very safe 1:22 at the half."

Gacek caught Lisa Harvey and hoped the two of them could work together. "Her idea of working together was to sit directly behind me for the next 9 miles," Gacek said. "I guess I would have preferred to take turns or run side by side, but I was glad she was there, if nothing else, a relentless competitor behind me."

"I am proud to say I ran this all by myself," she concluded. "I can only imagine what I could have run had I had a pack to go with. The pace was never hard ... "

And Finally ... There's a recent Star-Tribune story about Rob Finnerty and Antonio Vega, his assistant coach, HERE ... Steve Cram wrote a column about Kara Goucher's training methods HERE and there's a video clip of a BBC interview with Goucher after her ripping half marathon HERE ... And, the Star-Tribune's Kent Youngblood wrote THIS fine feature story on Interstate 35W bridge collapse survivor Marcelo Ordaz-Cruz, who will compete in Sunday's Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

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