A 5th-place team finish paced by Stephanie Price's 6th-place individual effort at the NCAA Pre-National meet in Terre Haute, Indiana left the University of Minnesota women confident about a return trip the Queen City of the Wabash in November for the NCAA Championships.
Although they finished behind Pre-Nationals White Race winners #5 Georgetown, runners-up #9 Colorado, 3rd-place #17 Stanford, and #12 SUNY Stony Brook, the Gopher team was pleased with its results.
The unlucky Gopher men finished 12th in their Pre-Nationals race.
The Gopher Women ... “I’m very happy with our performance today,” Gopher head coach Gary Wilson said in a media release. “Steph ran a great race, but really all 12 kids we brought to this meet ran well. They gave everything they had out there today.”
The #26-ranked Gopher women topped three ranked teams with their 241 point effort -- #19 Michigan, #23 North Carolina State, and #27 Florida.
“Beating Michigan was huge,” Wilson explained. “The Wolverines will be among the top teams in the Great Lakes Region. Florida is another team is was important for us to finish ahead of as they will do well in the South Region.”
Victories against strong teams from other regions could be important if the the Gophers need to qualify for nationals as an at-large team.
Price ran 20:25 over the 6K Terre Haute course for her top-10 finish.
Find race results HERE (individual) and HERE (team).
You can watch video of the race HERE.
The Gopher Men ... Untimely cramping for Gopher senior Mike Torchia foiled the University of Minnesota men's team's hopes the White Race at Pre-Nats. The Rochester Lourdes alumnus was leading the Gopher pack at 6K, before cramping dropped him to #7 on the team and 169th place overall.
Nine ranked team finished ahead of the Gophers, who tallied 391 points in their 12th-place run.
“Having Torch struggle late hurt our team score obviously,” Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia said. “I did think our young guys ran pretty well today, especially Andrew Larsen. We just need more from our guys up front.”
Pieter Gagnon led the Gopher effort finishing 51st in 24:35. Ben Blankenship was a few strides behind in 60th in 24:40. Larson was 76th in 24:49.
In the men's Blue Race, Winona High School alumnus Elliott Heath, running for #1-ranked Stanford, was runner-up in 23:16.
Find White Race results HERE (individual) and HERE (team).
You can watch video of the White Race HERE.
Watch the Blue Race HERE.