University of Minnesota women's coach Gary Wilson called yesterday's warm, wind-swept NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana "one of the ugliest national races I've ever seen."
His comments came on the heels of his team's 27th-place finish in the meet and the late-race DNF of the team's #2-runner Missa Varpness.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Wilson said in a U of M media release. “That was one of the ugliest national races I’ve ever seen. No team was ever really able to find a rhythm."
As footage in THIS Flotrack video highlight reel shows, many runners succumbed to the distance, conditions, and magnitude of the meet. Varpness, a redshirt freshman from Montivideo, fell roughly 200 meters from the finish line and did not finish.
"Maybe it was the wind or maybe that it was warmer than normal," Wilson speculated. "Obviously it unfortunate that we lost Missa and that probably cost us five or six spots in the team standings. Still, these young women accomplished so much this season. It was a great year.”
The Gopher men also placed 27th in the meet.
The Gopher programs added two new All-Americans to their rolls: Stephanie Price earned the distinction with her 31st-place finish as did Ben Blankenship with his 39th-place result.