Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Round-Up: Cross Country, Lots of It!

Before it's too late, here's a round-up of sundry cross country items ...

Wilson Named Region Coach of the Year ... Is there enough shelving in Gopher coach Gary Wilson's office?

Hope so, because he now needs to make some room for the additional hardware that comes from being named the Midwest Region coach of the year. Wilson, who was named Big Ten Coach of the Year after his Gopher women (pictured after Regions) won their first-ever conference title, was awarded the parallel honor for winning the regional meet last weekend -- also a Gopher women's first.

His #5-ranked Gopher's compete at the NCAA Division I Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Monday.

Photo by Eric Paulson.

Gophers, Erichsen Named USATF-Minnesota Athletes of the Month ... Not to be outdone by their coaches, the Gopher women's cross country team and Chris Erichsen of St. John's were named USATF-Minnesota Athletes of the Month for November for their recent exploits. (See above for the exploits of the Gopher gals and their coach!)

Erichsen recently won the MIAC and NCAA Division III Central regional titles. His 24:45 clocking at Como Golf Course for the MIAC win was the fastest ever MIAC clocking at the venue. Erichsen's coach, Tim Miles, was named the MIAC coach of the year after the Johnnie earned the MIAC team title.

True-Freshman Gits Powering #1 Stanford ... 2007 Edina High School graduate Alex Gits is making a big splash in her rookie year at Stanford. The MSHSL Class AA cross country and 3200 meter champ last year, was the #2 runner for the Cardinal at the NCAA Division I West Regional last weekend, finishing 3rd overall. The Cardinal beat Oregon 33-72 for the region crown. Holy Family Alum Bria Wetsch was 16th in the race for the Ducks.

The Brothers Heath -- senior Garrett and true-freshman Elliott -- are contributing for the Stanford men, who finished 3rd in the West. Garrett finished 28th in the race; Elliott was 41st for 3rd place Stanford.

Eye-Witness Reporting from NTN Heartland ... Brian Fendrich, an assistant coach at Rosemount High School and a friend of DtB, sent us a report from the Nike Team Nationals Heartland Regional meet in Sioux Falls last weekend.

Quoting from his e-mail -- with our headers in italics and additional info in [brackets] ...

The Setting

"The course consisted of 2 2k loops (same loop) followed by a 1k closing loop. The 2k loops contained a 4 mogul section that probably only took 10-12 seconds to get through. It was basically four mounds of dirt one right after another. It was right about the 600m mark of the race and then again at about 2.6k. It was nothing major, but it does break up your rhythm. Each one was short and steep.

"There were also two sections of three hay bales on each of the 2k loops. These hay bales were not high, but they were close enough together to break up your rhythm. The rest of the course was completely flat, with decent but not great footing, a little uneven.

"The course was set up nicely with almost the entire course cordoned off with colored pennants or Nike pennants. I thought they spent a lot of time setting up the course and providing the conditions to make it a first class race. They had a great announcer giving important details. The weather was decent by the time the race went off with temps around 55 degrees with a south wind of 10-15 mph. The forecast called for windier conditions, but it really wasn't that windy.

Girls Competition

"The girls race went off with Katie Flood [Dowling Catholic, IA] immediately going to the front with about a 30m lead on Emily Sisson [Millard North, NE] by the time they got to the moguls (called whoop-de-does by those hosting). Sisson probably had another 30m on third. The Burnsville girls wearing the pink Run-n-Fun uniforms were off the pace in their pack at this point. Laura Hughes [Mankato West] moved to 3rd by about the 1k mark and she basically stayed there until the last 1k loop where she was passed by Des Moines 2nd runner. She ended up 4th.

"By the time the girls got to the mile mark, Flood had a huge lead. My voice recorder has her at 5:24 for the mile, but you can check for a more accurate reading in the results. She just pushed hard the whole way and never appeared to struggle. We have the Burnsville girls running as a pack in about 33-38th place at this point. They announced team scores at the mile and the top 3 teams were Fargo South [ND], Yankton [SD] and Sioux Falls Roosevelt [SD]. The Burnsville girls moved up well in the 2nd mile and looked like they were going to maybe get 2nd, but their 5th struggled a bit over the last 1k and lost touch with their pack. It was really hard to pick out which teams were which, because most teams were running in non school issue, so many teams had no team insignias on their uniforms.

"My voice recorder has Flood in 11:12 for two miles with a huge lead. I have Burnville's first in 15th place at two miles.(Remember there were some individuals that did not count in team scores, so I don't know what team place that was). We had all of Burnsville's five in the top 30 at two miles though. The top three teams at 2 miles were Fargo South, Yankton and Des Moines Dowling, but I am sure Burnsville was a close 4th or 5th at at that point along with Sioux Falls.

"After the race, they did not announce the team scores, even though I am sure they had the capabilities as they had announced 1 mile and 2 mile team scores DURING the race. They did not announce or post these results until the award presentation an hour later. You can see how close Burnsville was to getting 2nd. They ran a great race.

Boys Competition

"The Boys race saw [Joash] Osoro from Bismark take it out hard much like Flood did, but he had an assortment that attempted to stay close to him through the first mile. I believe he was close to 4:45 for mile 1, which included the moguls and a set of hay bales. Jordan [Carlson of Rosemount] was about 10th or 12th at the mile mark in 4:53 I believe. Wayzata and Rosemount were still back at this point.

"I heard the announced team leaders at 1-mile. and I believe it was Pleasant Valley, and Yankton for the top two spots. Wayzata moved strongly through 1 -2 miles as did Rosemount. At the 2 miles mark the announced team leaders were Wayzata #1 and Rosemount #2. Jordan was in a group of 3-4 for 2nd at this point with Osoro probably 15-18 seconds clear. Obai [Hussein of Rosemount] was about 15th and we had three guys moving behind them. About 1 quarter mile after that Obai goes down again with breathing issues much like Griak. That immediately took us out of it because we only had 4 moving up at that point with our other two struggling.

"Wayzata just moved up strong the rest of the race. It was a race very similar to their state meet performance, not losing ground on anybody the last mile and passing those that were struggling. Jordan and Dominic Robinson [of Wyoming] battled over the last 1k and were closing on Osoro, but he was never really challenged."

You can see full NTN Heartland results, read a lengthy recap, and check out photos of the meet HERE (boys) and HERE (girls) courtesy of Dyestat.

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