Monday, November 14, 2011

Both Gopher Teams Headed to Nationals

The cross country teams from the University of Minnesota can keep their bags packed.

The women's and men's programs learned on Sunday night that they'll be included in the field of the NCAA Division I Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana a week from today.

Both teams earned at-large selections after competing at the NCAA Midwest Regional in DeKalb, Illinois on Saturday.

“We are simply thrilled to make our seventh straight trip to the NCAA Championships and our 12th in 15 years,” Gopher women's coach Gary Wilson said in a media release. “It is a real tribute to the perseverance of these kids. They have overcome so many setbacks this season and ended up on top. We could not be more proud of them.”

The Gopher women finished third at regional, behind automatic qualifiers Iowa State and Oklahoma State. The Gophers prevailed in the duel for third with Iowa, topping the Hawkeyes 136 to 146 for what turned out to be the final qualifying spot from the race.

Senior Stephanie Price led the Gopher women with a sixth-place finish in 21:09 over the 6K.

Find complete women's results HERE.

The #18-ranked Gopher men punched their ticket to nationals despite finishing fourth in the meet. #2-ranked Oklahoma State and #5-ranked Oklahoma dominated the meet, scoring 42 and 45 points, respectively.

#27 Tulsa surprised the Gophers for third-place -- 120 to 129 -- despite Hassan Mead's individual victory in the race. When at-large selections for nationals were made, though, both Tulsa and Minnesota advanced to nationals.

"I'm so happy for our guys and our program," men's coach Stave Plasencia said last night. "I am very happy for Hassan Mead and for his performance yesterday. I am glad we get another chance to run."

Find complete men's results HERE.

A full listing of NCAA Division I qualifiers can be found HERE.

NCAA Division III Qualifiers ... Four Minnesota small school programs will be represented at the NCAA Division III Championships to be hosted by UW - Oshkosh in Winneconne, Wisconsin on Saturday.

The MIAC champion Carleton College women's team and the MIAC runner-up St. Olaf men earned automatic berths to national with runner-up performances at Saturday's NCAA Division III Central Regional in Waverly, Iowa.

Earning at-large selections were the St. Olaf women and Hamline men, both third in their respective races.

University of St. Thomas senior Ben Sathre, the runner-up men's individual at D3 nationals last year, won the individual men's title at the meet.

University of Minnesota - Morris' Linda Keller won the women's crown.

Find complete Central Regional results HERE (women) and HERE (men).

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