Sunday, September 30, 2007

Goucher Beats Radcliffe in 1:06:57!

Kara Goucher beat Paula Radcliffe in the BUPA Great North Run this morning in Newcastle, England. The Duluth native clocked the fastest half marathon in the world this year with her race-winning 1:06:57.

Radcliffe was second in 1:07:53.

The IAAF's coverage of the race is HERE, including a great photo of Goucher pulling away from the world marathon record-holder.

Goucher's mark is the fastest ever for an American woman, although the Great North Run's downhill lay-out will disqualfy it for record purposes.

Deena Kastor holds the US half marathon record at 1:07:34.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Short-Cut: Results for September 28-30

Believe it or not, the Griak Invitational isn't the only meet this weekend -- it just seems like it.

Below you'll find our run-down and results links for the weekend's important Minnesota-related meets.

We're eager to see St. Olaf, St. Thomas, and Carleton, the prime contenders for the MIAC women's crown, duke it out at Griak. Carleton's men, seemingly the top challengers in the MIAC, won't, however, have a chance to test their mettle against defending champs and favorites St. John's -- the Johnnies are racing in Oregon this weekend, contrary backwoodsmen that they are.

(I can say that, I'm an alum!)

Seeing Minnesota's nationally ranked Division II teams -- Minnesota State Mankato's men and the University of Minnesota Duluth's women should be instructive, too.

The Heartland clash of regional high school super-teams at Griak should be scintillating, to say nothing of the boring old Minnesota implications of the meet. Heartland boys #1 Rosemount faces #3 Pleasant Valley (Iowa), #5 Shawnee Mission Northwest (Kansas), and #7 Wayzata. The Irish and the Trojans -- #1 and #2 in Class AA -- have yet to met this year.

For high school girls, Heartland #2 Sioux Falls Roosevelt (South Dakota) faces #3 West Des Moines Dowling (Iowa) and #10 Burnsville. Class AA #1 Brainerd, un-ranked in the Heartland, will face its toughest test of the season.

And, if you have any energy left after all of that, on Sunday there's Kara Goucher's epic challenge against Paula Radcliffe and a strong international field in in England. DtB voters think Goucher's got a chance!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Carleton JV Invitational: Results

Roy Griak Invitational: Results
Update: Gopher women win third Griak title!

Update: Gopher men 4th -- without Torchia

Update: Mankato men win D2 race, UMD a close 2nd.

Update: Moorhead women 7th in D2, UMD 9th.

Update: Carleton 4th, Hamline 5th for D3 men.

Update: St. Olaf 5th in D3, then: St. Thomas, Gustavus, & Bethel 6-7-8.

Update: Wayzata wins boys HS title!

Update: Burnsville girls top Minnesotans in 4th.

Willamette Invitational (St. John's): Results
Update: Johnnies 3rd despite 1-2 Erichsen, Fermoyle finish.

Bill Dellinger Invitational (Wetsch): Results
Update: Wetsch 21st for victorious Ducks.

Notre Dame Invitational: Results
Update: Watson 10th for victorious Irish.

Stanford Invitational (Heaths, Bergstedt, Gits): Results
Update: Gits 4th running unattached, Bergstedt 110th. Elliot Heath 8th running unattached.

BUPA Great North Run (Radcliffe vs. Goucher): Weather Startlist Results

The Griak Invite: A Golden Gopher Sweep?

Pity the poor Minnesota cross country reporter ...

Faced with writing a preview of the seven-hour-long, 350 team, 4000 runner hills-and-perspiration festival that is the 22nd Roy Griak Invitational, there's just too darn much to choose from.

I mean, the press release the Gophers send out for the event is whopping 2329 words long!

Interesting team and individual match-ups abound from the high school divisions -- seven NTN Heartland Region-ranked boys and girls teams are on the startlist -- through NCAA Division II and III, the "maroon divisions" of the meet.

But, it pays to find a single hook, I learned in my one-and-only journalism class ... and mine will be:

Can the Gophers sweep their big home meet for the first time in its history?

The Minnesota women's team has won two Griak titles (1988, 2000) and although the men have never kept the trophy named for the long-time Minnesota men's coach in-state, they were the runners-up last year.

Both teams, it appears, will face well-matched challenges. Steve Plasencia's men are the top-ranked team on the starting line, at #18 in the latest D1 poll. Gary Wilson's Gopher women, ranked #8 nationally, are the second-best team in the field, according to voters.

If the men are to win the Men's Gold Race at 12:10 p.m. on Saturday, they'll need to top #19 Northern Arizona, #23 Michigan State, #28 Virginia, and #29 Iowa State for the title. Twenty-four teams are scheduled to run the D1 race, including 2006 national meet participants Kansas and Washington State.

(If the men's field seems a little down this year, blame the University of Oregon's fast-growing Bill Dellinger Invitational for snapping up many of the nation's top teams this weekend, including #1 ranked Wisconsin men, the program to have won the most Griak titles -- 11!)

Come 12:55 p.m. when the gun fires for the Gopher women, in addition to #6 ranked Arizona State rated ahead of them, they'll need to out-run #9 Michigan State and #10 Virginia to uphold their half of any sweep. The 25-team women's field also includes 2006 Griak champs and national meet participants UC Santa Barbara.

Action at Les Bolstad Golf Course begins at 9:00 a.m. and continues until 3:55 p.m.

Find full details HERE.

The Boy Who Wakes Before Dawn

Today's Star Tribune includes a fine feature article on Forrest Tahdooahnippah, written by Roman Augustoviz. Tahdooahnippah, who is in his first year of law school at the University of Minnesota, is using his final year of eligibility to compete for the Gophers. The former Minneapolis Southwest star struggled with injuries at Stanford, but helped the Cardinal to a fourth place finish at last year's NCAA Cross Country Championships.

The Gophers host the 22nd Annual Roy Griak Invitational this Saturday at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Poll Watching: Mostly Steady, but for Class A

Polls and ratings for just about every level of the sport have been rolling in on the DtB teletype this week. Here's a quick run-down on the latest projections of where the state's top cross country teams appear to stack up.

High Schools:
Class AA Girls ... Undefeated Brainerd still tops the rankings. Eden Prairie, who's also beaten all challengers this fall -- including the bulk of the rest of the top-12, is #2 ... followed by Burnsville, White Bear Lake, and Lakeville North.

Class AA Boys ... Undefeated Rosemount tops the list as they have all season. They're #1 in the Nike Team Nationals Heartland Region as well. Wayzata is #2, ahead of #3 Stillwater, whom they've beaten twice. Brainerd is #4 and a sneaky-good Edina team is now #5.

Forgot to Mention ... THIS Pioneer Press story about the Rosemount harriers.

Class A Girls ... Lots of changes here after the Milaca Mega-Meet -- although defending state champs and mega-victors Adrian still owns #1. Perham moves to #2 (from #6 last week), Fairmont and Rochester Lourdes each fall a place to #3 and #4. Staples-Motley ranks #5.

Class A Boys ... Like the Class A girls, the previous #1 team remains atop the mountain -- Perham. There's quite the reshuffle downhill from there, however: Warroad moves to #2 (from #5 last week), Holy Family climbs from #12 to #3, Long Prairie/Grey Eagle grabs #4 after being un-ranked, and Adrian moves up a place to #5.

Division I Women ... The Gopher women remain at #8 after their strong early-season meets.

Division I Men ... The Minnesota men stay put at #18 after their nice win in Utah.

Division II Women ... Minnesota - Duluth joins the rankings at #17 after a runner-up finish to Michigan Tech at home.

Division II Men ... Minnesota State - Mankato remains at #9 after their tie with St. John's and victory at South Dakota State.

Division III Women ... St. Olaf joins the rankings at #18, St. Thomas falls to #24 (from #22), and Carleton drops to #34 (from #19.)

Division III Men ... St. John's remains #5 after their home-invitational tie with Mankato. Carleton falls from #27 to #31 after their narrow win over Grinnell.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

McGregor Named to USA's World Road Team

Team USA Minnesota's Katie McGregor will join Olympic marathon bronze medalist Deena Kastor and USA 20K champion Alicia Shay on what should be a strong USA squad for the IAAF World Road Running Championships in Udine, Italy on October 14, USA Track and Field announced.

Also named to the five-member squad which will seek the USA's first-ever medal in the event were Tara Storage and Desiree Davila.

The event is a half marathon contested on a 7,000 meter criterium loop through the streets of the northeastern Italian city. The race will offer a total of $225,000 in prize money. The top three athletes on each team score.

McGregor (pictured) won the Women Run the Cities 10 Mile on Sunday in 55:36. She plans to race the USA 10K Championship in Boston the Monday before the Udine event. Her last international outing was in the 10,000 meters at the World Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan, where she finished 13th in 32:44.76.

USA team members were selected based on performances time performances at 15K, half marathon, 20K and 25K, according to Jim Estes of USATF.

Photo by Victor Sailer, courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Goucher to Race Radcliffe, Pavey on Sunday

World Championships 10,000 meter bronze medalist Kara Goucher will race marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe and Osaka 10,000m 4th place finisher Jo Pavey on Sunday in England's BUPA Great North Run, a half marathon.

We found the news in this snarky, very British story about Paula Radcliffe's return from a nearly two-year competitive lay-off.

The challenge of racing the woman with the most recognizable name in the sport and the rematch with the runner Goucher (pictured) pipped for the Osaka bronze aside, it will be interesting to see what the Duluth East graduate can do over the 13.1 mile distance.

With Alberto Salazar as her coach, might there be a full marathon in her near future as well?

Photo by Paul Merca.

Barker Pleased with McGregor/Brown 1-2

Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker was pleased with the 1-2 finish his charges Katie McGregor and Emily Brown accomplished Sunday at the Women Run the Cities 10 Mile in Minneapolis.

McGregor won the inaugural event in 55:36; Brown was runner-up in 56:40 on the course which started in finished in Minnehaha Park.

"Katie and Emily ran very well," Barker said. "It was a good, hard run for both runners at the end of a high mileage week of training. Katie's always tough at this distance but this is the first time Emily has raced longer than four miles and she looked real strong."

McGregor has her sights set on the USA Women's 10K Championships in Boston on Monday, October 8. McGregor is the two-time defending champion of the event.

Brown plans to race the TC 5K on October 6 in her next competitive outing.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Short-Cut: Weekend Results for September 21-23

We're back again with our weekend-ly results round-up ...

Here in the DtB office complex, we're especially keen to see the Class A boys and girls results from the Milaca Mega-Meet on Saturday. Sixty-four teams are scheduled to line up along the Class A starting line, including nine of the top-twelve ranked boys teams and seven of the top-twelve ranked girls squads.

Individually, too, the meet will pit the best of Class A against one-another -- nine top-twelve ranked boys will race one-another -- including #1 Kevin Lachowitzer -- and eight top-twelve ranked girls will go stride-for-stride.

And, there's Class AA and Class AAA too!

Blugold Invitational (UW - Eau Claire): Results
Update: UMD wins men's race, Mac, Tommies, St. Olaf a tight 3-4-5.
Update: Tommie women 2nd to La Crosse with 77, Carleton 5th with 118.

Milaca Mega-Meet (High School): Results ... HERE
Update: Boys ... AAA Stillwater ... AA Hutchinson ... A Perham
Update: Girls ... AAA Minot followed by Prior Lake ... AA Visitation ... A Adrian

Apple Valley Eagle Invitational (High School): Results
Update: In a battle of DtB readers' favorites ... the Eden Prairie girls edge Burnsville 58-61

Women Run the Cities 10 Mile: Results
Update: McGregor wins in 55:36, Brown 2nd with 56:40

TC 10 Mile Won't Follow Original Route

The Medtronic TC 10 Mile, host of the USA Men's 10 Mile Championships, will not race along its original course, Twin Cities Marathon officials announced today.

The change was necessitated by the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge and on-going clean-up in the area.

As late as Wednesday, TCM officials had held out hope that the original course could still be used for the October 7 race. After meeting with Minneapolis officials yesterday, however, use of the original course, which would have run through the collapse site, was no longer an option.

“We would like to thank officials from the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Public Works Department, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and Metro Transit for the tremendous efforts they are making to ensure the safety of our runners,” TCM executive director Virginia Brophy Achman said in a media release. “The course re-route was designed to create minimal disruptions with maximum safety. We are grateful to the surrounding neighborhoods and to our runners as we implement this temporary change."

The new course -- illustrated by the official map HERE -- will avoid the bridge-collapse area by running along Washington Avenue and through Seven Corners, before descending to West River Parkway and reconnecting with the original route.

Heath, Mead Named T&FN Prep All-Americans

They're off at college now, but high school accolades continue to flow to Elliott Heath and Hassan Mead.

The two were named Prep All-Americans by Track and Field News.

Both earned the distinction in the two mile category where five athletes nation-wide were honored. Heath (pictured, left), a Winona High School grad now at Stanford, was the #3 honoree.

Mead (right), a Minneapolis South graduate now at the University of Minnesota, was the #5 all-American.

Also named in the event were Matt Centrowitz of Maryland (#1), Craig Forys of New Jersey (#2) and Evan Jagr of Illinois (#4).

The athletes' rank order as all-Americans reflected their finish order at the Nike Outdoor National meet where each ran their fastest marks of the season. Those times were also the fastest five of the season, national-wide.

Heath ran 8:46.12; Mead clocked 8:51.23.

Heath also earned special mention as an all-American at 5000 meters. In one of the events that T&FN said "didn't merit full rankings on their own," Heath was recognized for winning the USA Junior title and earning the silver medal at the Pan American Junior Championships.

Photo, from the MSHSL State Meet, by Gene Niemi.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

RNF Sweeps Team Circuit Open Divisions

With men's and women's team victories at the City of Lakes 25K on September 9, Run N Fun sealed USATF - Minnesota Team Circuit open division titles for 2007.

The RNF men beat GEAR 129-122 in the six month long, eight race circuit. The RNF women beat GEAR 64-59.

The Run N Fun men have now won at least a share of four of the last five circuit titles. They won outright in 2003, 2005, and this year, and shared the crown with Runners Edge in 2004.

The RNF women have now won back-to-back titles.

A complete run-down of the final circuit standings can be found HERE.

In the over-40 divisions of the circuit, RNF won the men's masters crown 91-83 over TC Running Company.

GEAR's masters women out-ran RNF 47-43.

The Molar Milers edged RNF for the men's grand masters crown 44-43.

The Prairie Striders won the women's grand masters division 23-16 over MDRA.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Abdirahman, Browne Headline TC 10 Mile Field

Olympians Abdi Abdirahman, the reigning USA 10,000 meter champion, and Dan Browne, victor of the 2002 Twin Cities Marathon, headline the elite field for the Medtronic TC 10 Mile which will serve as the 2007 USA 10 Mile Championship.

TCM officials announced the USA Championship field at a finish-line press conference today in St. Paul. Abdirahman, a two-time U.S. Olympian at 10,000 meters, and Browne, who ran both the 10,000 and the marathon at the 2004 Athens Games, will battle one-another and a strong field for the events’ $10,000 winner's prize. The USA Championship race has a $25,000 prize purse.

Also expected on the starting line for the October 7 race are Ryan Shay, the 2003 USA Marathon champion, two-time defending Twin Cities Marathon champion Mbarak Hussein, and 2006 TCM runner-up Simon Sawe.

The local favorites in the event are strong as well. Team USA Minnesota's Andrew Carlson, the 2006 USA 10 Mile Championship runner-up (to Abdirahman), and teammate Jason Lehmkuhle, 3rd in the championship in 2006, are planning to compete. Minnesotans Chris Lundstrom of Team USA Minnesota, Donnie Fellows, and Zach Schendel will also compete, as will Carleton College alum Matt Hooley.

Additional elite runners slated to compete include: James Carney, Brandon Leslie, Joe Driscoll, Teren Jameson, Donnie Franzen, Corey Stelljes, and Nick Stanko.

The race will serve as an Olympic Marathon Trials tune-up for many of the runners in the field. The Men's Olympic Team Trails for the marathon take place on November 3 in New York City.

"The runners will be in peak condition," Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker explained, "because many of them are also preparing for the U.S. Olympic Trails Marathon in New York. It's a fantastic course with some very fast parts and some very tough parts, which is going to make it a very compelling race."

Original Course?

The exact route for the race is still in flux. TCM executive director Virginia Brophy Achman said it was still possible for the TC 10 to follow its original course, which ran underneath the now-collapsed Interstate 35W bridge.

"The city is working very hard to clear the route for us," she said. "On October 1st is when we'll make a decision."

If the original course isn't cleared in time, the revised course would be as follows, according the TCM web-site:

"The [contingent course] will start on Portland Avenue near the current start line and proceed to West River Parkway. Follow the parkway to 11th Street, turn right and then left on Washington Avenue. Follow Washington Avenue through the 7 Corners area to 19th Avenue, turn right, then left onto 4th Street down to West River Parkway and back onto the original course."

TCM had previously announced its elite field for the 26th Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Confusion at the Top: Girls Class AA Cross

Call me crazy, but I'd like to know just who the best Class AA girls cross country team is this year.

Or, who the best five teams are.

If you've followed the results and the coaches' ratings, you know it's quite the exquisite mess to try to untangle. In the latest ratings released Monday, undefeated Brainerd is ranked #1, but that doesn't tell half the story.

It would in the relatively stable universe of Class AA Boys and Class A, where we seem to have a pretty good idea of where things stand. No so, with the big school girls.

So follow me -- if you dare! -- into the Bizarro World that is Girls Class AA ...

The season starts out normally enough. Lakeville North gets ranked #1 in the pre-season poll. Prior Lake nips them by three points at the Irish Invitational, but that just means there are two really strong programs vying for the Class AA crown. Right?

Sorta ... North surprisingly holds on to its #1 rating in the next poll despite the defeat -- on the strength of their jayvee runners, I'm told -- but a week later they end up on the wrong side of a tight, three-way team finish at Faribault. Un-ranked Eden Prairie wins with 81 points; White Bear Lake (third at Irish) totals 86; North tallies 89.

When the next set of ratings appear, Prior Lake -- which competed elsewhere -- rises to the top of the poll ... North falls to 6th, but giant-killers Eden Prairie rank only #4.

A week later, last weekend, the movable feast that is the Class AA girls cross country season arrived in Lakeville. North, Prior Lake, and White Bear clashed ... and, one might have hoped, sorted things out for those of us that prefer the universe to make sense.

Nope. The winner there: un-ranked, un-known, un-foreseen ... Burnsville!

The Blaze packed all five of its scorers into a span of 11.5 seconds to win the meet with 66 points. WBL had 82, North scored 88, #1 Prior Lake tallied 103.

And when the latest rankings came out yesterday, a team that starts with "B" topped the tables ...


The northern Minnesota squad has avoided the metro-area fray, so far, and has put together an unbeaten record in 2007. It would be convenient if they are, indeed, head-and-shoulders better than all the teams trumping one-another weekend-to-weekend down here. I've got my doubts, though -- seems too easy!

Burnsville did enter the rankings for the first time this season at #3 behind their alliterative, undefeated out-state rivals and fellow #1-beaters Eden Prairie ... who won handily at the Metro Invite last weekend over defending State Champs Woodbury. Our best guess is that the pollsters are a little fearful of Burnsville's apparent lack of depth.

Heading into Lollapaloozian portion of the high school season -- the Milaca Mega-Meet and the Griak Invitational come this weekend and next -- I'm expecting the wild ride in Girls Class AA to continue. It seems more likely that the churn atop the rankings and meet results will continue rather than abate.

Sure, a team or two could show a special consistency or emerge as clearly superior. If I had to bet, though, I'd wager that at least a half-dozen teams will dig in on the St. Olaf starting line at the State Meet with utterly realistic hopes of hoisting the winner's trophy by the end of the day.

And, it wouldn't even surprise me -- not this year -- if a team not mentioned in this post drives home in the happiest bus that day.

Goucher, Langenfeld Named Athletes of the Month

Kara Goucher and Tom Langenfeld have been named USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for September 2007.

Goucher, a Duluth native now living in Oregon, was recognized for winning the USA’s first-ever world championships medal in the 10,000 meters at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan in August. Goucher, finished third in the event, clocking 32 minutes, 2.05 seconds.

Langenfeld, a 72-year-old masters athlete from Edina, was honored for winning the M70 high jump title at the USA Masters Track and Field Championships in Orono, Maine in August. The title was Langenfeld’s 16th masters high jump title. Langenfeld leaped 4 feet, 8 and 1/4 inches for the win this year.

USA Track & Field Minnesota selects Athletes of the Month to honor excellence in track and field and its related sports in Minnesota.

(Disclosure: Pete Miller and I serve, along with Kevin Moorhead, on the USATF-Minnesota Athlete of the Month committee.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

McGregor, Brown to Headline Women Run the Cities 10 Mile Field

Team USA Minnesota athletes Katie McGregor and Emily Brown are slated to compete in the Women Run the Cities 10 Mile on September 23 [correction from initial post, our apologies], according to Chris Fuller, president of The Sporting Life which is organizing the event.

The race, which was to run under the now-collapsed Interstate 35W bridge, will now start and finish in Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis.

The top three finishers in the all-women's 10 mile race will earn prize money of $700, $500, and $200. The top three masters runners will earn prize money of $300, $200, $100. Women who have run 1:05:00 or faster -- or masters women who have run 1:08:00 or faster -- for 10 miles in the past two years are invited to request complimentary entries.

The event also features a girls' 1 mile run and a 5K run/walk for women.

For further information, contact Chris Fuller at for details.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Short-Cut: Weekend Results for September 14-16

Behold! Our collection of results links for the weekend's important competitions -- lots of them!

Lakeville Applejack Invitational (High School): Results
#1-ranked Class AA squads -- Prior Lake girls, Rosemount boys -- face strong fields.
Update: Rosemount boys roll; Burnsville girls shock with an 11.5 second 1-5 spread!

Metro Invitational (High School): Results
Headliners: Chaska, Eden Prairie, Minneapolis South, Roseville, Woodbury
Update: #4 Eden Prairie girls defeat #2 Woodbury; #7 Roseville boys roll.

St. Olaf Showcase (High School): Boys/Girls
#2 Wayzata and #3 Stillwater boys clash ... plus Class A #1 Perham.
Update: Boys .... Wayzata 59, Stillwater 78, Perham 159; Girls ... M'tonka 111, Wayzata 145, Perham 161.

South Dakota State Invitational (Gopher Women) Results Story
Update: #8 Gophers score perfect-15 in Brookings.

St. Olaf Invitational (College): Men/Women
Area colleges and national meet hopefuls preview the D3 championship course.
Update: UW-La Crosse wins for men; UW - Eau Claire tops women's field.

Great Cow Harbor 10K: Results
Team USA Mn's Lehmkuhle, Lundstrom ... and Kristen Nicolini back from injuries.
Update: Lehmkuhle and Nicolini-Lehmkuhle win! Lundstrom fourth.

Walker North Country Marathon: Results
Didn't DtB's Pete Miller win this race once?
Update: Benchina, Keeler Ramacier win.

Fort Snelling Relays: Results
The USATF - Minnesota XC Circuit Opener

Update: Run N Fun men, Team Unattached women win.

CVS/Caremark Downtown 5K (USA Championship): Results
Team USA Mn's Carlson and Lowery to compete.

Update: Carlson 3rd in road-PR 13:56, Lowery runs 15:11

ISTAF Golden League Meet (Berlin): Results
Update: Goucher 3rd with 14:55.02 -- 4th fastest US 5000m all-time

USATF - Minnesota XC Circuit Opens Sunday

It's time to knock that caked mud off your cross country spikes!

The 2007 USA Track and Field Minnesota Cross Country Circuit kicks off on Sunday with the Fort Snelling Relays. Action there gets underway at 9:00 on Pike Island.

The six event circuit, which is organized in similar fashion as USATF - Minnesota's Team Circuit of road races, culminates with the USATF - Minnesota Cross Country Championships on November 10.

Last year, the Runner's Edge men and Run N Fun women won the open division of the circuit.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Athletes of the Week: Rombough in Big Ten; Winona's Easker; Mankato's Krajsa, Too

Defending Big Ten cross country champion Chris Rombough was named the conference's Athlete of the Week yesterday. The Camp Fremont, Wisconsin junior won the BYU Autumn Classic last weekend, leading the #18 ranked Gophers to the team title there.

Also recognized as Athletes of the Week by their conferences this week were Winona State's Bethany Easker (you may remember her parents, former Badger stars John Easker and Cathy Branta) in the NSIC and Minnesota State Mankato's James Krajsa in the NCC.

Easker finished second for the Warrior women at the St. John's Invitational; Krajsa did the same for the Maverick men at St. John's.

Chris Lists: Where They're Going to College

When it comes to putting the names of top Minnesota high school boys in some sort of order, Chris Marshall is our man. (You'll remember his Chris Lists last spring, of course.)

Below, Chris reports, in Class AA State Meet finish order, where the top, senior, large-school boys from last year are attending college this year.

Hassan Mead, Minneapolis South, Minnesota
Jon Stublaski, Henry Sibley, Oklahoma State
Elliot Heath, Winona, Stanford
Kaafi Adeys, Willmar, plans to attend MSU-Mankato in the near future
Ryan Little, Eden Prairie, Oklahoma State
Abdi Awale, Willmar, MSU-Mankato
Tom Burke, Edian, William & Mary
Jackson Wiley, Eden Prairie, Florida College
Matt Yak, Northfield, St. Olaf
Nick Saucedo, Henry Sibley, MSU-Mankato
Justin Tyner, Brainerd, Air Force
Mohamed Bedel, Willmar, plans to attend MSU-Mankato in the near future
Paul Hilsen, Lakeville South, Minnesota
TC Lumbar, Edina, Georgetown
Mustafa Yusuf, Willmar, MSU-Mankato
Brandon Lewis, Armstrong, Drake
Chip Sandahl, Burnsville, North Dakota State
Matt Volz, Lakeville South, Colorado School of Mines
Ben Wilson, Alexandria, St. Olaf
Jon Lambert, Wayzata, St. Olaf
Aaron Gorman, Park Center, Minnesota-Duluth
Wade Hassell, Mounds View, UW-LaCrosse
Alex Wrobel, Mounds View, Calvin
Noah Delong, Central, Grinnell
Keagan Marble, Waseca, Augsburg
Mike Bumgarner, Rosemount, Drake
Nick Ramberg, North Branch, MSU-Mankato
John Davis, Eden Prairie, Carleton
Andy Wendroth, Zumbrota-Mazeppa, North Dakota State
Andy Hawkinson, Osseo, Minnesota-Duluth
Jimmy Backes, Lakeville South, St. John's
Luke Toso, Roseville, Minnesota-Morris
Adam Noll, Alexandria, MSU-Mankato
Mike Warweg, Rosemount, North Dakota
Jake Dornfield, Winona, North Dakota State

Ben Blankenship, Stillwater, Mississippi State

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Polson, Cueno Open Gaps for Runner of the Year

With the year's results adding up and 2007 races beginning to run out, Jeremy Polson and Nicole Cueno have opened narrow leads in the latest tabulation of the Running Data Center's Runner of the Year standings.

The new standings include races up to and including last weekend's City of Lakes 25K.

Polson now leads the open men's division with 83 points over Pat Russell with 78 and Chris Lundstrom with 68.

Cueno leads Jenna Boren 71-68 in open women's competition. Erin Ward is currently third in the standings with 66.

Full standings in the open division and in all 10 men's and women's age-group divisions can be found HERE, on Mike Setter's Runner of the Year page.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

NCAA Polls: Gopher Women Open at #8; Gopher Men's Start Season Ranked #18

The University of Minnesota women's cross country team opens the 2007 season ranked #8 in the inaugural U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division I poll announced today.

Two-time defending NCAA champion Stanford is ranked #1.

Big Ten rivals Michigan (#2), Wisconsin (#5), and Illinois (#6) are ranked ahead of the Gopher women.

The Gopher men open the season ranked #18. Last year's NCAA runner-up Wisconsin -- the only Big Ten team rated ahead of the Gopher men -- is ranked #1 in the first poll of the season.

Full women's rankings can be found HERE.

There's a preview of the 2007 Gopher women's team from HERE.

Full men's rankings are HERE.

There's a preview of the 2007 Gopher men's team from HERE.

Additionally ... Gopher women's coach Gary Wilson offered his reaction to his team's high national ranking as well as the Big Ten's depth in a U of M media release: "The Big Ten this season is stupid tough this season,” he said. “Needless to say we are thrilled with the ranking, but what really counts is how we run at the end of the season.”

Finally ... It bears noting that 43% of DtB poll voters (see results to the right) put the #8 Gopher women in the same slot in the poll as did the USTFCCCA voters. Our voters were a little more bearish on the #18 Gopher men than the official voters -- 40% of them ranking the team in the #21-25 slot.

News & Notes: Goucher, Gophers, HS Polls

Catching everybody up -- including yours truly -- on the latest in the sport ...

-- Kara Goucher appears to have a thing for the number three. The third place finisher at the World Track and Field Championships in Osaka in August finished third in the 3000 meters at the Grand Prix meet Rieti, Italy on Sunday in a blazing 8:34.99. The performance ranks the Duluth native #3 all-time in the U.S. over the distance. Only Mary Slaney, who ran 8:25.83 in 1985, and Shalane Flanagan, who ran 8:33.25 indoors earlier this year, are faster.

-- The Gopher men's cross country team won the BYU Autumn Classic 26-30 over the host Cougars. All-American Chris Rombough won the meet, running the four mile course in 19:16.5. True-freshman Hassan Mead was the team's #2 man, finishing 3rd overall in 19:31.5. Matt Barrett and Forrest Tahdooahnippah finished 5th and 6th in 19:47.1 and 19:48.9, respectively. Mike Torchia rounded out the Minnesota scoring in 11th in 19:59.2.

-- You can check out the latest high school cross country ratings HERE, on RaceberryJam. There's lots of movement in Girls Class AA. Prior Lake moves into the #1 slot in the division as former #1 Lakeville North drops to #5 and previously un-ranked Eden Praire ascends to #4 after its big win at the Faribault Invite. Katie Moraczewski of White Bear Lake's big individual win there over former #1 Laura Hughes of Mankato West and Michelle Volz of Lakeville North vaults her into the top spot in Class AA.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Photos: Minnesota Mile; City of Lakes 25K

Thanks to photo contributors Gregg Robertson (Minnesota Mile - Duluth) and Gene Niemi (City of Lakes 25K in Minneapolis), we offer you these of images of the top finishers at the two big road events from this past weekend.

Kathleen Monaghan leading Jen Houck to the finish of the Minnesota Mile.

Minnesota Mile winner Brad Lowery (right) leading Scott Fiksdal (left) and Roger Cahill (center.)

City of Lakes 25K women's champ Jenna Boren.

City of Lakes winner Donovan Fellows (left) and runner-up Chris Lundstrom.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Baba Yaga! Minnesotans Win Hood-to-Coast

The 26th annual Hood-to-Coast Relay took place August 24-25 and half of the members of the victorious women’s team -- Team Baba Yaga -- consisted of Minnesotans.

Baba Yaga (pictured) is no stranger to the podium at H2C, having won the team title eight times in their 13 attempts. However, winning this year’s 197-mile relay from Oregon’s Mt. Hood to the shores of the Pacific Ocean by a mere 11 seconds ranks at the top in terms of excitement.

DtB contributor Chad Austin caught up with Baba Yaga team captain Robin Balder-Lanoue to find out more about this event and her team’s victory.

DtB: First off, congratulations on your victory. For those of us that aren’t familiar with this relay rules, can you briefly explain how things work?

Balder-Lanoue: Thanks. Sure, there are 36 legs set up in distance where the exchanges can logistically take place. Each team has 12 runners on it and you rotate through your line 3 times. The big picture is that you put runners 1-6 in van 1 and runners 7-12 in van 2. Those two vans play leap-frog. The same goes with the runners. Runner 1 takes off and you drive down the road and scream “go Baba Yaga” and get to the exchange for number 2 to be ready for the hand off. You continue this madness through all 36 legs.

They have 1000 teams competing. The teams go off at 15-minute waves. I think there are about 20 teams in each wave. I believe they begin the waves on Friday around 9:00am and the last wave goes around 8:45pm. They typically try to start the top women’s, open and men’s teams at the same time to make for a very exciting competition.

DtB: It sounds like you’ve been doing H2C for a number of years. Do you run with the same runners, or core group of runners, each year?

Balder-Lanoue: This was our 13th year at H2C! We have a roster of about 25 women that have run it with us over the past 13 years. In addition to myself, this year’s team consisted of Minnesotan’s Cindy Brochman, Havila Peterson, Erin Ward, Laurie Hanscom and Katie Zuehlke, along with Kim Bendel and Jackie Herrington from Wisconsin, Lori Stich-Zimmerman (TX), Sharon Tillotson (MA), Sarah Hansen (CO) and Christine Olen (ID).

DtB: It doesn’t sound like this was your first victory. Was it?

Balder-Lanoue: This was our 8th team championship, 1999, 2001-2007. In 2005 we ran as a sub-masters team to get the record but we still beat all the open women teams.

DtB: Winning by 11 seconds in a 197-mile race, I’m guessing it was the most exciting. How did that last leg play out?

Balder-Lanoue: At the beginning of the race we were seeded 2nd, 25 minutes behind Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. We went back and forth the first rotation. The second rotation we were up by 4-6 minutes and had to try to hang on to that lead. Our last runner was being chased by their runner who was cruising. She made up some serious time but our runner held her off. We were so excited for that win…we were truly shedding tears of joy. Not having slept much in the past 48 hours really lead to heightened emotions!

DtB: Is there anything else you’d like people to know?

Balder-Lanoue: This race is truly an amazing experience! When you are on a relay, you can just push yourself a little harder than you would in an open race. We put 12 women runners together that truly push one another. It is always a recharging and inspiring weekend for us, as crazy as that may sound.

Photo courtesy of Robin Balder-Lanoue.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Short-Cut: Weekend Results for September 7-9

Our old Friday afternoon stand-by is back ... the "Short-Cut" to results from this weekend's important action.

Ele Hansen Invitational: Women
MIAC favorites St. Thomas and Carleton to clash.
Update: St. Olaf surprises favored Tommies and Knights.

Faribault Invitational: Boys/Girls
Update: Stillwater boys edge Edina; Eden Prairie girls beat WBL, L'ville North.

St. John's Invitational: Men/Women
#5 St. Johns (DIII) versus #9 Mankato (DII).
Update: Johnnies, Marvericks tie; St. Ben's wins.

Les Duke Invitational (Grinnell, Iowa) Results
#27 Carleton men open season.
Update: Carleton edges hosts Grinnell.

Oz Memorial Run (U of M): Results
The home-state team in early-season action.
Update: Gopher women score 15-poiont slam!

City of Lakes 25K: Results
USATF-Minnesota Team Circuit finale.
Update: Fellows, Boren win.

Grandma's Minnesota Mile -- Duluth: Results
Team USA Minnesota's Brad Lowery (4:01) versus California's Roger Cahill (3:57).
Update: Lowery, Monaghan win elite races.

Lehmkuhle: "It'll be an interesting fall"

With his third place finish at the USA 20K Championship in New Haven, Connecticut on Monday, Team USA Minnesota's Jason Lehmkuhle reminded people that he is indeed a contender at the Olympic Marathon Trials coming up quickly on November 3 in New York City. We chatted with Lehmkuhle (pictured), who finished 9th at the 2004 Trials, about New Haven and his Trials preparations.

On the New Haven 20K: "I was definitely pleased with the race. I'm never going to be disappointed with 3rd in any kind of National Championship. I wasn't sure what to expect going in. I didn't know about my race fitness, and I also didn't have a good sense where the other guys in the race were at. Much of the field, myself included, had been away from racing, starting our marathon buildups."

How he raced: "My general game plan going in was to put myself in the lead pack and just see how things developed. If I was spit out the back, so be it. I tucked in after a couple of miles. We weren't running particularly fast, and I felt things slow a little further around the 10K mark. I moved to the front there and pushed a little. That broke the pack up, leaving Dan Browne, James Carney and myself. I never felt comfortable after about mile 8, but I could tell the other guys were working hard too. I thought I had a chance. With about a mile to go, though, Dan opened it up. James and I were suddenly squinting to see him up ahead. He looked really strong."

Marathon Trials training: "I'm about a month into my buildup, and it's going well, I think. I still feel like I haven't figured this marathon thing out yet. We've changed some things for this cycle, more course specific work (i.e.: hills). I'm hoping that makes the difference for me late in the race... "

The 20K in Context: "As far as how the 20K fits, I like to race. I thought this was a good measuring stick. I'll race a couple of more times before the trials, the Cow Harbor 10K and the TC 10 Mile. The next month will be the most intense part of the marathon training, and that is the focus. I'll probably be racing on tired legs, so I'm not going to get to caught up with my performances in either of those. I am excited to run the 10 mile, though, particularly as its a national champs race this year.... It'll be an interesting fall."

Photo by Victor Sailer, courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

MIAC Favorites to Clash Early at Ele Hansen

In the past two seasons, women's cross country in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference has been, by and large, about two teams: Carleton and St. Thomas.

In 2005, Donna Ricks' Carleton squad defended its 2004 MIAC title with a narrow 75-81 win over the Tommies. Last year, St. Thomas turned the tables on the Knights at conference winning 73-92 with a come-from-behind final kilometer of racing. St. Thomas would top Carleton again two weeks later with a 143-147 4th place finish at the NCAA Central Regional. Carleton regained the upper-hand in the very end, finishing 16th at the NCAA Division III Championships compared to the Tommies' 18th.

Between the two teams only a single scorer from 2006 was lost to graduation, so the now-familiar purple versus blue tussle at the forefront of the MIAC field is likely to continue.

And, rather than wait until late-fall to duke it out, the teams will open the season against one-another at the Ele Hansen Invitational on Friday in Carleton's Arboretum. Also competing will be St. Olaf (3rd in the MIAC the last two years), UW - River Falls, and UW - Eau Claire's junior varsity.

St. Thomas coach Joe Sweeney enters the meet looking to keep the early showdown in perspective.

"We pride ourselves in peaking for the big ones," he told DtB, "so we don’t place much emphasis on the early meets. That being said, it will be good to see where we are at. We have had some great battles with both Carleton and St. Olaf through the years, and look forward to seeing how we stack up."

Gone for the Tommie's from last year's conference title-winning squad is 9th placer Jenny Olin. But joining the Tommies' 2006 MIAC top-7 of Katie Theisen (3rd), Kelly Russ (15th), Meghan Mayer (20th), Anna Glowacki (26th), Emma Miller (54th), and Alexandria Johnson (55th) is Anne Iddins who was abroad last fall but finished 3rd in the MIAC steeplechase last spring.

Sweeney also won't be surprised if Julie Anderson and Kalsey Larson to play a role, as well as rookies Allie Metzler from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Raynee DeGrio from Grand Rapids, and Christine Skopec from Iowa City, Iowa.

"We expect to be as good as last year, if not better," he offered. "They had an excellent summer of training, better than any group we have had in recent years. We have slightly better depth compared to last year, which is always nice."

The Knights return all seven runner's from their MIAC top-7, according to the team web-page. Back are: Karen Campbell (8th at MIAC) , Laura Roach (16th), Heather Hoecker (19th), Kate Meyer (24th), Eva Luderowski (25th), Irene Koplinka-Loehr (27th), and Sarah Forzley (31st).

The gun fires at the Ele Hansen Invitational -- and for another season of Knight/Tommie competition -- at 4:30 on Friday.

Update: Carleton coach Donna Ricks got back to us late regarding her team. (We suppose organzing a well-run meet is more important that talking to the media!) She noted that co-captain Karen Campbell and Lindsey Neitmann, a top-7 prospect who missed last season while abroad, will not race for the Knights at Ele Hansen.

Campbell is in the midst of RA training this week -- you've gotta love Division III!

News & Notes: Polls, Goucher, and a Meeting

With items piling up fast on the DtB news desk, let's make the morning post a catch-all, news-and-notes sort of thing. I'm planning an afternoon/evening post on what I think is the weekend's most intriguing contest.

(Wonder which one it will be?)

News & Notes:

-- We finally tracked down the Class AA Girls Cross Country Ratings. You can find them on RaceberryJam HERE. Lakeville North, despite losing to Prior Lake at Rosemount last Friday retains its #1 ranking. That's right! Best we can tell, the raters took into consideration what Lakeville North might have done if the Panthers had run their top JV runners in the varsity race. Down the rankings, White Bear Lake moved into the #5 spot from outside the top-12 on the pre-season list. Pre-season #5 Chaska did the same thing in the opposite direction, falling out of the top-12.

Mankato West's Laura Hughes still leads the Class AA individual rankings, followed by McKenzie Melander of Eastview and Danielle Berndt of Bloomington Kennedy.

-- There's additional Kara Goucher content still appearing on the web in the wake of her Osaka bronze. (And I don't just mean DtB's new banner featuring the former Duluth East star!) DtB contributor Sean Hartnett has produced a long video interview with Goucher that's available HERE via Track & Field News. Hartnett also posted a "slide-show" of the shots he took of the women's 10,000 meter at the World Championships, HERE. You'll recognize a few of them, I think.

Look for Goucher on the cover of the September-November issue of Minnesota Running & Track, too!

-- Speaking of USA Track & Field Minnesota (they publish MnR&T) ... The annual meeting for the organization is this Sunday (September 9) at 6;30 p.m. at the Courage Center in Golden Valley. The organization will elect officers -- President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer - for 2008. All USATF - Minnesota members are welcome to attend and eligible to vote.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Grandma's Champs to Seek Twin Cities Double

2007 Grandma's Marathon Champions Mary Akor of the United States and Wesly Ngetich of Kenya will attempt to complete the "Andrew Musuva Double" on October 7th.

As only Musuva has so far done successfully -- winning both of Minnesota's elite marathons in 1999 -- the two will attempt to win the Twin Cities Marathon in the same year they won at Grandma's.

This year's Grandma's champs headline the elite field for the 26th Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon announced today. The event will again have an international flavor after two years as the USA Marathon Championships. TCM will host the USA Master championship for the 17th straight year, however.

Should Akor succeed in the Twin Ports/Twin Cities double, she'd be the first women to turn the same-year double, although three-time TCM champion Zinaida Semenova won TCM in 2001 and Grandma's in 2002 -- winning the events consecutively albeit in different years.

(Jan Ettle, Janis Klecker, and Irina Bogacheva have won both races non-consecutively.)

Akor, who was the runner up at Twin Cities last year to Marla Runyan, will face strong competition in her quest. Three runners with faster PRs than her 2:33:27 at TCM last year will join her on the starting line. Svetlana Ponomarenko of Russia is the fastest female entrant at 2:29:00. Tatiana Borisova of Kyrgyzstan has run 2:30:39; Magdelena Lewy-Boulet of the USA has run 2:30:50.

Ngetich faces stiff competition too, including 2004 TCM champ Augustus Kavutu of Kenya who sports a 2:11:39 marathon best. Thomas Omwenga (2:10:44), Jonathon Ndambuki (2:10:58), and Fred Mogaka (2:12:03), all of Kenya, are obvious contenders. Russian Mykola Antonenko (2:13:00), who finished runner-up to Kavutu at TCM in 2004, and Ethiopian Abebe Yimer (2:13:52) are the best bets to break up the Kenyan pack.

Other notable elite entrants in the race include 1999 TCM women's champ Kim Pawelek, three-time TCM champ Semenova, now a 44-year-old master, and 2002 champ Bogecheva, now 46.

Two-time defending USA Masters Marathon champ Susan Loken is back to add a third USA title to her string. 2004 USA Masters men's champ Dennis Simoniatis also returns.

A complete listing of TCM elite athletes and the official media release can be found HERE.

Division II & III Polls: St. John's, Mankato, Carleton, and St. Thomas Make Top-25

Four Minnesota colleges find themselves ranked in the top-25 nationally in NCAA Division II and III cross country polls released by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Minnesota State Mankato's men are ranked #9 in Division II. St. John's is ranked #5 in the Division III men's poll, while Carleton and St. Thomas are ranked #19 and #22, respectively, for Division III women.

The Johnnies' and Mavericks' rankings match the teams' finishes at their respective national meets last November. Carleton finished 16th and St. Thomas 18th at the Division III Women's Championship last year.

Find complete poll information via the links below:

Division II Men

Division II Women (No Minnesota teams in the top-25)

Division III Men

Division III Women

Perham Boys, Adrian Girls Top Class A; Lachowitzer and Keller Lead Individuals

Familiar names grace the tops of the latest Class A cross country polls, released yesterday. Defending team champions Perham (boys) and Adrian (girls) are perched atop the small school team rankings. Defending individual boys champ Kevin Lachowitzer of Perham leads the boys' individual ratings; top-returnee on the girls' side, Linda Keller of Paynesville Area tops girls' individuals.

The full listings are below ...

Boys' Teams:
1. Perham
2. Minnehaha Academy
3. Pine City
4. Mora
6. Warroad
7. Adrian
8. Rochester Lourdes
9. St. James
10. Staples-Motley
11. Byron
12. Long Prairie/Grey Eagle

Boys' Individuals:
1. Kevin Lachowitzer, Perham
2. Donny Wasinger, Winona Cotter
3. Moses Heppner, Warroad
4. Eddie Stenger, Perham
5. Kenny Fillbrandt, Glencoe-Silver Lake
6. Connor Gjevre, Annandale
7. Justin Tellinhuisen, Perham
8. Brett Ausmus, Hinckley-Finlayson
9. J P Cartier, Mora
10. Ryan Swenson, Lac Qui Parle Valley/DB
11. Doug Liebsch, Long Prairie/GE
12. Tom Pesch, Plainview-E-M

Girls' Teams:
1. Adrian
2. Staples-Motley
3. Fairmont
4. Providence Academy
5. Rochester Lourdes
6. Perham
7. Mountain Lake/B.O
8. Mora
9. LaCrescent
10. Blue Earth Area
11. Paynesville Area
12. Blake

Girls' Individuals:
1. Linda Keller, Paynesville Area
2. Naomi Landecker, Staples-Motley
3. Lexi Jo Heitkamp, Luverne
4. Morgan Lynn, Adrian
5. Abby Anderson, Perham
6. Marissa Janning, Watertown-Mayer
7. Kaycee Knutson, Esko
8. Taylor Rather, Fairmont
9. Leslie Stover, Adrian
10. Annie Hart, St. Paul Academy
11. Dani Stack, Mankato Loyola
12. Kristin Ostrem, Lewiston-Altura/RP

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sidelined Tollefson Eager to Run Fast Again

Despite the large and important Minnesota component on the USA's World Track and Field Championships team -- four athletes, a bronze medalist in Kara Goucher -- we couldn't help but notice someone missing in Osaka. Carrie Tollefson.

The Team USA Minnesota star, who had been a regular on USA squads competing abroad of late, has been missing for most of the 2007 season with injuries. We decided to catch up with the 2004 Olympian at 1500 meters in the wake of Osaka.

DtB: I hear you're back training again. How's that going? What was the nature of the injury?

Tollefson: I am back training but not full time running yet. I am starting workouts this week and hopefully will be back at it 100% soon. I am still doing tons of cross training but am having a blast doing it. I am in the pool, on the bike, using the reformer for 2-3 sessions a week of pilates, and strength training. It has been fun using my other muscles and rebuilding my body from what was the most painful injury I have ever had.

I fell and did the splits over a snowdrift back in January of 2004 and tore both adductors (groin) and ripped the rectus abdominis (six pack) off the bone. I had bilateral hernia repair after the 2004 Olympics but still ran with pain for 3 years and finally figured out the main problem this past April. With the help of Dr. Chris Larson, he had me seek out a specialist in Philly named, Dr. William Meyers, and he said I needed to have the surgery ASAP.

After last summer I ran fast, I set a new PR in both the Mile and the 3k but had so much pain I thought it was coming to an end. Now I know I have many years left in me and know I too belong up front where I love to run!

DtB: Are you planning on racing in the near-term or do feel you have to be extra careful in the Olympic year?

Tollefson: I will be extra careful but still plan on racing quite a bit this year. I have to get my standards for the Olympics and I hope to do that in April and May so when I go to the trials I won't have to think about that and then I won't have to put myself and the whole state of Minnesota through that crazy ordeal again like last time!

DtB: So how difficult has it been "sitting out" the World Championships? Between World Cross, World Indoor, the Olympics, you've been so much a part of USA squads recently.

Tollefson: It has been horribly difficult. I am so happy for everyone that is there competing but I know I am just as talented and deserve to be there with them. If I could explain to you how painful it has been to just live the past few years I would but I can't. The easiest way for me to explain is I no longer want to put a fist through a wall when I sneeze or laugh. I can do sit-ups again which I haven't been able to do in over 3 years.

Life is good but it feels good again and I am so thankful I took the time this year to have the surgery. It has been hard sitting out, but I know in the back of my mind if I didn't get this taken care of now, I would be cheating myself. I don't want to be 3rd or 4th or 5th, I want to WIN! So hopefully after a long layoff and some hard fall training I will put myself back in contention. Back in time to represent Minnesota and the USA in Beijing.

DtB: What was your reaction to Kara Goucher's bronze medal performance in Osaka?

Tollefson: Kara and I have been racing a long time and it was so exciting to see her run one of the smartest races I have ever seen. I am so proud of her! We have been battling since 1996 and I hope we have many more to come, but the greatest part about all of this is she is a friend.

She wore the barrette that I gave her at the World Cross Country race we ran in together [in Fukuoka, Japan] and it gave me chills to hear that. Katie [McGregor] told me she wore it because I couldn't be there. I'm not sure if that is the exact case but it is nice to know she is thinking of me during this hard time and I hope she knows I am living through her right now as I am sure she did the same when she was at home in 2004.

We have always supported one another and I hope we can continue to do that. Even though she is an Oregonian now, the whole state should be proud to say she grew up here! We have a lot to be proud of here in Minnesota and I believe great things are going to happen here next year!

Photo of Tollefson, by Victor Sailer, courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rosemount, Finnerty Stay Atop Class AA Ratings

In the latest Class AA Boys Cross Country Ratings, released September 3, Rosemount retains its top ranking, as expected. #2 Wayzata changes places with #3 Stillwater after beating the Ponies in Marshfield, Wisconsin over the weekend. #8 Edina and #9 Eastview join the top-12 after not making the grade in the pre-season ratings.

Here's how the Class AA Teams stack up ...

1 Rosemount (3) ... were 1st in pre-season ratings
2 Wayzata (Section 6) ... were 3rd
3 Stillwater (4) ... were 2nd
4 Brainerd (8) ... were 4th
5 Robbinsdale Armstrong (6) ... were 6th
6 Willmar (2) ... were 5th
7 Roseville (4) ... were 8th
8 Edina (6) ... were un-ranked
9 Eastview (3) ... were un-ranked
10 Eden Prairie (6) ... were 10th
11 Moorhead (8) ... were 9th
12 Andover (5) ... were unranked.

Also receiving consideration: Lakeville North (1), Winona (1), Lakeville South (1), Owatonna (1), Hutchinson (2), Chaska (2), Mounds View (5), Minneapolis South (6), Hopkins (6), Minnetonka (6), St. Michael-Albertville (8).

Individually, Burnsville's Rob Finnerty retains his pre-season top-rating after his big win in Marshfield. Rosemount's Obai Hussein is the big mover -- jumping from #11 to #4 after his runner-up finish at the Irish Invite. Half-miler extraordinaire Andy Richardson officially joins the cross country fold with a #11 ranking.

1 Rob Finnerty (12), Burnsville ... was 1st
2 Jordan Carlson (12), Rosemount ... was 3rd
3 Mahad Hassan (11)Willmar ... was 4th
4 Obai Hussein (12), Rosemount ... was 11th
5 Tyler King (12), Lakeville North ... was 2nd
6 Travis Beniak (12), ZMKW ... was 5th
7 Pieter Gagnon (12), Mpls Washburn ... was 6th
8 John Holt (11), Roseville ... was 7th
9 Kyle Schmidt (12), Hutchinson ... was 9th
10 Robel Kebede (11), Mpls South ... was 10th
11 Andy Richardson (12), Irondale ... was un-ranked
12 Drew Paradis (11), Alexandria .... was 12th.

Also receiving consideration (not in order) Shane Steele (12) Roch Century, Nick Nygaard (12) St. Michael-Alb., Travis Burkstrand (12) Eastview, Zach Mellon (11) Buffalo, Danny Docherty (12) Cretin DH, Ellis Richardson (12) Roseville, Danny Ducharme (11) Wayzata, Jon-Michael Brandt (10) Winona, Besufekead Shannon (11) Hopkins.

Look to DtB for the Class AA girls and the Class A ratings as they are released.

Labor Day Weekend Results Round-Up

Here's a round up the weekend's results for quick viewing over the holiday. Hope you're enjoying the official end of summer.

Irish Invite: Boys/Girls
#1 Rosemount boys win; #2 Prior Lake girls nip #1 Lakeville North.
(See story one post previous.)

Dakota County Meet: Boys/Girls
Lakeville South boys win; un-ranked Eagan girls beat #6 Lakeville South

St. Mary's Invitational: Men/Women
Macalester men, Augustana (SD) women win.

Gopher Women's Intrasquad: Results
Cheever, Gold Team win big.

Marshfield (Wi) Columbus Invitational: Boys
#3 Wayzata boys beat #2 Stillwater, Finnerty wins big.

Victory 5K/10K: Results
Lundstrom and Lyons win 10Ks in 30:55 and 34:03, respectively.

New Haven Road Race/USA 20K Championships: Results
Team USA Minnesota's Lehmkuhle 3rd in 59:42