Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HS State XC Championship Preview: Final Section HS XC Results

MSHSL preview of the State Meet:
Two team champions return this Saturday, Nov. 3, when the Minnesota State High School League’s 2012 State Girls’ and Boys’ Cross Country Running Meet is conducted at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The St. Cloud Cathedral boys (Class A) and the Stillwater Area boys (Class AA) are both in the hunt for their second consecutive titles.
Three individual champions also return in search of more gold. Senior Maria Hauger of
Shakopee is looking to become the first Class AA runner to win four consecutive titles, while junior
Clare Flanagan is seeking her second consecutive Class A crown. Esko senior Marisa Shady, who took
top honors in Class A in 2010, also returns. She is looking to improve on last year’s third-place
Class A Boys Highlights
The Crusaders of St. Cloud Cathedral return to defend their 2011 title. They have six runners
with previous state meet experience. Eleven other teams also return from last year’s field: Cotter of
Winona, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Martin County West of Sherburn, Waseca, Redwood Valley of
Redwood Falls, Luverne, Minnehaha Academy of Minneapolis, The Blake School of Minneapolis,
Mora, Albany, and Perham. Cotter includes students from Hope Lutheran of Winona.
The other teams qualified this year are Pelican Rapids, Proctor, Esko, and Park Rapids Area.
The final rankings from the state coaches association for the qualified teams are: 1. Perham; 2.
St. Cloud Cathedral; 3.Minnehaha Academy; 4. Waseca; 5. The Blake School; 6. Esko; 7. Cotter; 8.
Plainview-Elgin-Millville; 9. Redwood Valley; 11. Martin County West; and 12. Pelican Rapids.
Senior Charlie Lawrence of Foley is the highest returning individual medal-winner; he placed
third in 2011. Two other Top 10 finishers also return: sophomore Shane Streich of Waseca, fifth, and
junior Nick Golebiowski of St. Cloud Cathedral, eighth.
Lawrence was ranked No. 2 in the final coaches poll followed by Streich at No. 4 and
Golebiowski at No. 5.
Class A Girls Highlights
Ten of last year’s 16 teams are back. The Annandale Cardinals, who earned runner-up honors
last year, are the highest returning qualifiers. They return with six runners from last year’s roster. Other
teams that are returning are Rochester Lourdes, Waseca, Adrian, The Blake School of Minneapolis,
Holdingford, Albany, Esko, International Falls, and Perham. The other qualified teams are Dover-Eyota,
Martin County West of Sherburn, Canby/Minneota/Lincoln H I, Minnehaha Academy of Minneapolis,
Spectrum/Legacy, and Warroad. Spectrum/Legacy is a co-op between Spectrum High School of Elk
River and Legacy Christian Academy of Andover.
The final rankings from the state coaches association for the qualified teams are: 1. Esko; 2.
Waseca; 3. Rochester Lourdes; 5. Dover-Eyota; 8. Annandale; 9. The Blake School; and 10. Minnehaha
Defending champion Clare Flanagan, a junior from The Blake School, is the highest returning
qualifier. She will face tough competition from junior Emi Trost of Cannon Falls and senior Marisa
Shady of Esko. Trost placed second last year and Shady followed in third. Shady also took top honors in
Three additional Top 10 finishers also return: junior McKenzie Holt of St. Cloud Christian,
fourth; senior Kayla Woltz of Chatfield, fifth; and junior Courtney Alama of Annandale, seventh.
Flanagan was No. 1 in the final rankings from the state coaches association, followed by Trost at
No. 2, Holt at No. 4, Shady at No. 5, and Woltz at No. 7.
Class AA Boys Highlights
Eight of last year’s 16 teams will be back, including the defending champions from Stillwater
Area. The Ponies have five runners with previous state meet experience. Other teams returning from last
year’s meet are Owatonna, Rosemount, White Bear Lake Area, Centennial of Circle Pines, Mounds
View, Edina, and Moorhead. The other teams in the field are Rochester Century, Orono, Chaska,
Eastview of Apple Valley, Wayzata, Elk River, Chisago Lakes Area of Lindstrom, and Bemidji.
The final rankings from the state coaches association for the qualified teams are: 1. Stillwater
Area; 2. Wayzata; 3. Edina; 7. Owatonna; 8. Rosemount; 9. Centennial; and 10. Bemidji.
In the individual competition, senior Kevin Docherty of Cretin-Derham Hall of St. Paul is the
highest returning qualifier. He is looking to improve on last year’s sixth-place showing.
In addition to Docherty, three other 2011 Top 10 finishers also return: senior Wayde Hall of
Stillwater Area, seventh; sophomore Joey Duerr of Chaska, eighth; and senior Eric Colvin of Stillwater
Area, 10th.
Hall was ranked No. 2 in the final coaches poll. Docherty was No. 3, Duerr was No. 7, and
Colvin came in at No. 10.
Class AA Girls Highlights
Lakeville South, which placed second in 2011, is this year’s highest returning qualifier. The
Cougars have six runners with previous state meet experience. Ten additional teams also return from last
year’s field: Lakeville North, Chanhassen, Eagan, Prior Lake, East Ridge of Woodbury, Roseville Area,
Totino-Grace of Fridley, Wayzata, Edina, and Forest Lake.
Teams from Chaska, Mounds View, Elk River, Moorhead, and Willmar round out this year’s
Class AA field.
The final rankings from the state coaches association for the qualified teams are: 1. Eagan; 2.
Wayzata; 3. East Ridge; 4. Edina; 5. Chanhassen; 6. Lakeville South; 9. Willmar; and 10. Moorhead.
Three-time defending champion Maria Hauger of Shakopee, a senior, leads the field of eight
returning Top 10 finishers. The others are: Bemidji sophomore Jenna Truedson, third; Alexandria ninthgrader
Megan Hasz, fourth; Alexandria ninth-grader Bethany Hasz, fifth; Lakeville South sophomore
Kaytlyn Larson, sixth; Andover senior Nicole Heitzman, seventh; Eagan senior Danielle Anderson,
eighth; and Wayzata sophomore Anna French, 10th.
Hauger, who became the first Class AA competitor to win three consecutive titles last year, was
ranked No. 1 in the final coaches poll. The others were: Anderson at No. 2; Truedson at No. 3; Bethany
Hasz at No. 4; Megan Hasz at No. 5; and French at No. 7.
The Schedule
The Class A boys’ race will start at 10 a.m., followed by the Class A girls’ race at 11 a.m. The
Class AA boys’ race will start at 1 p.m., followed by the Class AA girls’ race at 2 p.m. A combined
awards ceremony will take place approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the girls’ race in each
State Meet Parking
School teams, meet officials, media, and vehicles displaying handicapped passes will be allowed
to park on the St. Olaf campus near the race course at Skoglund Athletic Center.
Spectator parking is available at four remote parking lots at the southeast end of St. Olaf campus.
Large red signs will direct spectators to these lots. Shuttle service to and from campus will be provided
from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The pick-up and drop-off points will be posted with large red “Bus Stop”
GrandStadium Webcast
A composite highlight video will be produced at the meet and will be available for free viewing
for seven days at sometime the following week.
To find St. Olaf College, take I-35 to the Highway 19/Northfield exit and drive east to the campus. Follow the signs toward the Skoglund Athletic Center. 
Meet results will be posted on the League’s Web site. The League’s Web site address is
Section 3A boys results are HERE.  Girls results are HERE
Other Sectional results are HERE and HERE.

Interview With Dennis Barker

Runner's Space interview with Augsburg/Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker done at the Olympic Track Trials in Eugene this summer is HERE. Covers the history of Team USA Minnesota, history of MN distance runners, training, coaching.

ING New York City Marathon in the News, Ready to Make More News

A couple of weeks ago Richard Finn, New York Road Runners director of media relations, did a three-stop tour across the country to promote the fact that Sunday's ING New York City Marathon would be televised live on ESPN 2.  Two of his stops involved Minnesotans.

Before he came to Minneapolis on October 11 to do a joint press conference with participants in this year's race, Team USA Minnesota's Andrew Carlson and Melissa Fry, Finn was in Arkansas with Armstrong High grad, Leah Thorvilson. There he presented a ceremonial race bib to Thorvilson, the four-time champion of the Little Rock Marathon(video is  He did the same for Fry and Carlson in Minneapolis as well as a segment for Carrie Tollefson's CTolleRun web site as Tollefson will be part of the ESPN broadcast team for the race.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy that coverage has an even more compelling back story as the city recovers from unprecedented flooding and power outages due to the storm.  While the ESPN coverage will mainly focus on the elite races, no doubt there will be segments dealing with a marathon recovery of sorts from the storm that will only be in its early miles by the time the race begins.

For Frey, who was just returning from finishing 32nd at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Bulgaria, this year's New York race presents an opportunity to race against a world class field and tick off an item on her "bucket list"-- running the NYC Marathon.  With her elite running career winding down, Frey said she wanted to run in New York while she was still competitive, not merely as part of the 47,000 who enter the event.

"I'm excited to be there and to see how fast I can run," said Frey.  She received advice from  Katie McGregor and her coach, Chris Lundstrom, both of whom have run New York, on how to navigate the race on the Big Apple's unique tour of the Five Boroughs.  At points, she said they told her, "you have to hold back," because the crowd and the competition might induce you to run too fast.  Managing your energy, while crucial to any marathon, is even more so in New York as the atmosphere can get you out of your race plan. Frey says  she runs better when she is concentrating on her own goals, not getting sucked into others' pace or distractions, but it's not easy.

Carlson told the story of his  experience in his first marathon--the Olympic Trials in Houston in January where he placed sixth.  About seven miles into the race there was a turn where nobody was sure which way to go.  Nervous and revved up about being in the Olympic Trials, Carlson "just started shouting at a police officer," who was standing in the area as a course monitor.  Just as quickly as the urge hit him to begin yelling, Carlson realized, one, that the policeman probably had no more knowledge of which way to go than he did, and,  two,  that he was unnecessarily wasting energy.  "You need to calm down," he remembers saying to himself.

He did, and through mile 20 he felt fine, was beginning to feel that this marathon thing was going pretty well, then reality set in.  "First one hamstring started cramping, then another, and it goes from 'this is easy' to the hardest thing I've ever done."  Carlson was still able to hold it  together and get to the finish in 2:11:24.  Then he went from the usual first time marathoner thoughts of "I'm never going to do this again," to sitting alone in his hotel room for four hours going over the race, picking out those things that he could have done better.  Three spots from an Olympic berth.  So close, but yet so far.

Demonstrating an impressive knowledge of the history of Minnesotans in New York, Carlson noted that his goals this weekend are to try and live up to the standards of those before him--Garry Bjorklund(5th in the 1977 NYCM), Bob Kempainen(2nd in the 1993 NYCM), Jason Lehmkuhle(fifth in the Olympic Trials in New York in 2007).  Those are pretty high standards, but Carlson has never been one to aim low.  He noted that's he's 50/50 on the success/failure ratio in New York having two good races and two bad ones in his four attempts at shorter distances in the Big Apple.

So, the main goal is to get above .500 on the success ratio and see where that places him.  For Frey, if conditions allow it, her hopes are a time in the low 2:30s and "trying to be open to having the best day of my life."  The  training is done, said Frey, noting that she and some of her teammates on the US team in Bulgaria who were also preparing for Fall marathons went on a run at one in the morning before they left to fly home because their training schedules called for two runs that day at that was the only time they could get one of them done.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Class A Coaches XC Final Rankings; Odds and Ends

Highland Park junior Elana Breitenbucher named one of the Pioneer Press prep Athletes of the Week HERE.

Across the river in Hudson, Ryan Kromer became the first Hudson High schooler to win the Wisconsin state Division 1 XC title. Read the story from the Hudson Star-Observer HERE.  For that he was also on the Pioneer Press Athletes of the Week list HERE.

 BOYS’ TEAMS:                          INDIVIDUALS:
1.       Perham                                    Matt Welch           Proctor
2.       St. Cloud Cathedral                   Charlie Lawrence   Foley
3.       Minnehaha Academy                 Keeghan Hurley    Perham    
4.       Blake                                       Shane Streich        Waseca      
5.       Martin County West                  Nick Golebiowski  St. Cloud Cath.    
6.       Redwood Valley Area               Mike Destache       St. Paul Acad.
7        Cotter                                                Brady Speicher      Perham
8.       Waseca                                    Billy Beseman        Perham
 9.      Proctor                                    Ian Torchia            Roch. Lourdes
10.    Esko                                        Ethan Wagner        Minnehaha Acad.
11.     Plainview-Elgin-Millville             Nick Stoks      Canby-Minneota/LinHI
12      Albany                                      Pat Reinschmidt    Plainview-Elgin-M

GIRLS’ TEAMS:                           INDIVIDUALS:
1.       Waseca                                    Clare Flanagan       Blake
2.       Esko                                         Emi Trost              Cannon Falls
3.       Blake                                         Emily Mantor     United South Central
4.       Dover-Eyota                             McKenzie Holt     St. Cloud Christian        
5.       Annandale                                 Marisa Shady        Esko
6.       Rochester Lourdes                              Kayla Woltz          Chatfield     
7.       Minnehaha Academy                 Mary Naas             St. Paul Acad
8.       Holdingford                               Sadie Klug             Waseca
9.       Perham                              Kayla Huhnerkoch  Redwood Valley Area 
10.     Martin County West                  Savannah Ramirez   Litchfield
11.     Canby/Minneota/LinHI              Madeline Huglen    Roseau
12.     Adrian                                      Elizabeth Schlafke  Annandale

MIAC Spotlight Interviews

Rachel Dean, St. Olaf College
Senior, Track and cross-country
Fort Collins, Colo./ Poudre High School
Major: Nursing

What do you like most about competing in the MIAC? 
It’s a very strong region, with impressive individual and team competitors. It’s great to run against such strong women, and to know that they are smart, too.
What has been the greatest part of your collegiate athletic career thus far? 
My team has become my family, and over four years we’ve matured as runners together. We perform better as a unit now – and that’s brought results that are really gratifying to experience.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being a student-athlete? 
I used to be very shy.  I had to learn to recognize when to speak up for myself, and when to reach out to others. I’m a much stronger person now – as a self-advocate and a team leader. I train better and feel better when I communicate with my coach and my teammates. 

What is your most embarrassing sports moment?
I sprinted and hurdled in junior high and high school, and didn’t find my niche as a distance runner until junior year. I thought I just sucked at running. There was one terrible race when I hit every single hurdle coming down the back stretch and fell over most of them. I kept hauling myself up and over, only to go down again. It was mortifying.

Do you have any pregame/pre-event rituals? If so, what are they?
I stretch obsessively the night before and in the hours leading up to a race. Right before we get on the starting line, I like to do a handstand. It helps me remember to run joyfully, which is more fun than running nervous – and faster too!

Nicola Franta, College of Saint Benedict
Senior, Cross Country and Track and Field
La Crescent, Minn./ La Crescent
Major: Dietetics with a minor in Hispanic Studies

What has been the greatest part of your collegiate athletic career thus far? 
I’ve seen a great amount of self-growth through hardships from my teammates and myself. Those experiences helped shape my perspective as an athlete, student, and person of the community. I’ve grown to really appreciate the simple aspects of being on a team such as an easy weekend run with my teammates.

Who has been the most influential person in your athletic career?
My older brother, Dustin, has been the most influential person in my athletic career. He has been my guiding light through both my high school and college athletic careers. He has always been someone I can look up to and admire. When I think of someone who shows true dedication to a sport such as running, it’s Dustin.

What is your most embarrassing sports moment?
This actually occurred in high school. I ended up winning my first race and crossed the finish line with a huge smile. I stumbled up to the volunteer who rips off the bottom of the number and puts them all in order on a string. As we all know, there is always a large hole  on the left side that reads “Do Not Pin.” Yes, I pinned there. And yes I was so embarrassed.  The meet champ didn’t’ look the smartest.

Do you have any pregame/pre-event rituals? If so, what are they?
I always have to have a cup of coffee about a little over an hour before I race. I also write positive, inspirational words on my hands.

If you have been involved in community service projects, which project has been the most rewarding and why? 
During the 2012 spring semester, I was abroad in Guatemala and volunteered for a reforestation project. I saw firsthand the deforestation in the mountains and pueblos where I was staying.  Expending my time and energy to give back to Guatemala and the Earth was very rewarding.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

St Scholastica Sweeps UMAC Team Titles, Keller Wins Fourth Women's Individual Championship

University of Minnesota Morris senior Linda Keller stayed undefeated, winning her fourth straight UMAC title on Saturday in New Ulm in 21:34.5.  St. Scholastica captured the next two places and had seven runners finish in the top 11 to easily win the women's team title with 22 points. Individual results are HERE. Team results are HERE.

St. Scholastica's men were equally dominant, placing four runners in the top seven to win the Championship with 37 points.  Northland College's Adam Zais took in individual honors in 26:22.3, followed by three St. Scholastica underclassmen.  Team scores are HERE.  Individual results are HERE.

Wrap Up of Big Tens

The Minnesota Daily's Drew Claussen continues the paper's excellent coverage of the Gopher XC season with a report on the Big Ten Championships HERE. Tales of a lost shoe, stress fracture, and doing the "little things right."

Boys AA Final XC Coaches Rankings


1              Stillwater
2              Wayzata
3              Edina
4              Hopkins
5              Minneapolis Southwest
6              Owatonna
7              Rosemount
8              Eden Prairie
9              Centennial
10           Bemidji
11           Eastview
12           Burnsville
Others receiving votes: Minnetonka, White Bear Lake, Orono


1              Osba Ali, Richfield
2              Wayde Hall, Stillwater
3              Joe Klecker, Hopkins
4              Kevin Docherty, Cretin-Derham Hall
5              Connor Olson, Wayzata
6              Will Burke, Edina
7              Joey Duerr, Chaska
8              Zack Benning, Hastings
9              Brendan Sage, St Michael-Albertville
10           Eric  Colvin, Stillwater
11           Jake Jankowski, Forest Lake
12           Steven Cotter, Andover
Others receiving votes:  Faysal Mahmoud, Burnsville; Isaiah Barlow, Hutchinson; Josh Nielsen, Wayzata; Nick Oelke, Eastview; Trevor Capra, Rosemount

Girls AA Final XC Coaches Rankings for 2012

Final Rankings 
1.       Eagan  
2.       Wayzata
3.       East Ridge 
4.       Chanhassen
5.       Lakeville South 
6.       Edina
7.       Eden Prairie
8.       Moorhead
9.       Willmar 
10.   Roseville
11.   Forest Lake
12.   Chaska
Others receiving votes:  Lakeville North, Prior Lake, Hopkins, Totino Grace, Minnetonka, Shakopee, Marshall, Mounds View, Monticello, Elk River
1.       Maria Hauger, 12, Shakopee
2.       Danielle Anderson, 12, Eagan
3.       Megan Hasz, 9, Alexandria   
4.       Bethany Hasz, 9, Alexandria  
5.       Jenna Truedson, 10, Bemidji 
6.       Bethany Kozak, 11, White Bear Lake
7.       Anna French, 10, Wayzata 
8.       Carly Bandt, 11, Mounds View 
9.       Taylor Perkins, 12, Lakeville North
10.   Rachel King, 10, SMA
11.   Mariah Betzler, 11, Monticello
12.   Emily Betz, 10, East Ridge         
Others receiving votes:  Grace Loeslie, 10 Chanhassen; Amber Seidenkranz, 11, Monticello; Anastasia Korzenowski,8, Chanhassen;  Kaytlyn Larson,10, Lakeville South; Bailey Ness, 11, East Ridge; Caroline Brisbois, 11, Roseville; Nicole Heitzman, 12, Andover; Annika HalvErson, 11, Wayzata; Tess Misgen, 8, Shakopee

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More MSHSL Sectional Results

Section 2AA boys results are HERE.  Girls are HERE.

Section 5A boys results are HERE.  Girls are HERE.

Section 8A boys results are HERE.  Girls are HERE.

Section 1A boys results are HERE.  Girls are HERE.

Section 1AA boys results are HERE. Girls are HERE.

News report on the Section 3A meet is HERE.  Will update when we get full results

Gopher Women Fourth, Men Fifth at Big Ten Champs

The University of Minnesota women placed fourth in the Big Ten Championships in East Lansing on Sunday, while the men finished fifth.  Full results for the women are HERE.  The men HERE. Gopher SID release on the women's race is HERE.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

St Olaf Takes Men's Team Tile, Gustavus the Women's at MIAC Championships

Gustavus prevented a St Olaf sweep Saturday by winning the women's team race by three points, while the Ole men, led by individual champ sophomore Grant Whintheiser(25:08.1), scored 54 points, 43 in front of second place St. Thomas in the men's.

St. Thomas senior  Taylor Berg won the women's individual crown in 21:39.3, overtaking St Olaf sophomore Jordan Johnson(21:54.4) in the later stages of the race.  The women's team race came down to a trio of Gustavus seniors--Kate Eggers(tenth, 22:56.6), Elizabeth Hauer(twelveth, 23:01.9) and Meredith Bache-Wiig(twenty sixth,23:34.2) who worked their way up through the race to eke out the narrow victory.  Johnson and her day-glow yellow singlet clad teammates took off hard from the gun, but couldn't hold their fast early pace.

The Ole men were more conservative, sitting in third place in the early going behind Bethel(third, 101) and Hamline(fifth, 133), before methodically picking off runners in front of them on the hilly Como Park course to ease to victory.  St Thomas employed a similar strategy, improving their positions throughout the race to finish ahead of Bethel by four points and fourth place St. Johns by five.

Whintheiser, wearing stylish shades and whose younger sibling qualified for the MSHSL XC championships this week for his St. Cloud Cathedral team that won the snow postponed 5A  Section meet yesterday and was at the MIAC race to cheer on his brother, also had his patience tested as runner-up Micheale Tesema, an Augsburg junior, broke away from him going into the race's last loop, but was caught and passed by Whintheiser in the last mile

Full men's results are HERE.  Women's results are HERE.  Videos and photos of the races are HERE.

Friday, October 26, 2012

MSHSL Sectional Results

Section 2A boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Section 3AA boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Section 4A boys results are HERE.  Girls results are HERE.

Section 4AA boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE. Photo album is HERE.

Section 5AA boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Section 6A boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Section 6AA boys results are HERE.  Girls results are HERE.

Section 7A boys results are HERE.  Girls results are HERE.

Section 7AA boys results are HERE.  Girls results are HERE.

Section 8AA boys results are HERE.  Girls results are HERE.

Pioneer Press Athletes of the Week includes Stillwater's Wayde Hall HERE.

Yes/No: Gophers in top four at Big Tens?

The University of Minnesota Gophers will travel to East Lansing, Michigan for the Big Ten Cross Country Championships on Sunday.  Last year, the Gopher men finished tied for third and the women were fifth.  The top runners may have graduated last year—Hassan Mead for the guys and Stephanie Price for the ladies—but both squads have managed to return with strong teams.

The men have been ranked as high as 16th in the nation while the women currently sit at 25th.  On both sides, there are three ranked teams ahead of them in the polls at the present time.

Yes/No: Will both the University of Minnesota Gopher Mens AND Womens cross country teams finish in the top four at the Big Ten Championships?

The National Rankings show Michigan at 11th, Wisconsin at 20th and Indiana at 24th on the mens' side.  The Gophers are currently unranked.  For the women, Michigan is 7th, Penn State 13th, Michigan State is 15th and the Gophers are 25th.

You can find the men's and women's 2011 Big Ten Championship results on the University of Illinois website.

The Gophers website has more information on both the men's and women's teams.

To play our game, simply type "yes" or "no" into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us at DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 9:45 A.M. CDT, Sunday, October 28th.  Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

My Answer:  Yes

Last week's question was Will Antonio Vega run faster than 1:04:00 at the Des Moines Half-Marathon on Sunday?  The answer was yes.  Vega finished second in 1:03:41 Mike Mason is joined in first by Gloria Jansen and Heather Jelen with twenty-five points.  Ryan Aylesworth, Evan Roberts, Mike Henderson and Jesse Schoen are all second with twenty-four points.  

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner, HERE.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

MIAC XC Championships On Saturday: Big Tens on Sunday

It's a big weekend for University Conference Championships.  The 2012 MIAC Conference Championship leads off on Saturday at the Como Golf Course in St. Paul.  MIAC preview of the meet is HERE. On Sunday, Michigan State plays host to the Big Ten Conference Championships in East Lansing.  Minnesota Daily preview of the meet is HERE. Gopher women's preview is HERE. .

The Minnesota Daily also has a story on last weekend's Jack's Run HERE. Meanwhile sectional meets are going on to qualify teams and individuals for the MSHSL State Championships.

Eighth Grader's Appeal to Run with the Varsity Nixed by School Board

Coon Rapids eighth grader Bryna DelCastillo not allowed to compete with the varsity team.  Strib story is HERE

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Albertson-Junkans and Melander Join Team USA Minnesota

Ladia Albertson-Junkans and McKenzie Melander joined Team USA Minnesota this month.  Both athletes are from the Twin Cities area with Albertson-Junkans competing collegiately at the University of Minnesota and Melander at the University of Iowa.

“We’re happy to add two great Minnesota runners to our group,” said Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker.  “A lot of people here have followed the careers of these two throughout high school and college and are excited to see them continue on to the next level.”

Albertson-Junkans is from Stillwater.  She was the Minnesota State High School Cross Country champion as a sophomore and competed in a range of events at the State Track & Field Championships including the 4x800 relay, 1600m and 3200m.

At the University of Minnesota she graduated with  a bachelor’s degree in child development and a masters in public health and was a member of three track and field teams that won Big Ten titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009.  She was also a two-time cross country All-American and helped lead the squad to its first Big Ten championship in 2007.  In addition to finishing 19th at the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships, she holds the U women’s second best time in cross country at both the Big Ten and NCAA championships.  She was also the 2009 Big Ten candidate for NCAA Woman of the Year.

After her collegiate running career, Albertson-Junkans stepped away from training and racing to focus on her academic and career interests and now works in child development research.  During the past two years, she returned to competition and in 2012 won the Fargo Half Marathon, placed third at the Cow Harbor 10K with a time of 33:19, and was eighth at the USA 10 Mile Championships earlier this month with a personal best of 55:44.

Melander, who is from Apple Valley, went to Eastview High School where she placed third at the Minnesota State Cross Country Championships.  In track, she finished second in the 1600 and 3200 meters as a junior and senior, ran on the third-place 3200-meter relay and helped her team win the Minnesota State title.  Melander holds school records in the 1600m (4:59.25), 3200m (10:52.32) and cross country 4000m (14:28).  She also was the recipient of the 2008 Twin Cities In Motion College Scholarship.

At the University of Iowa  she was the 2012 Big Ten 5000m champion and the runner-up in the Big Ten 10,000m.  She also qualified for the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5000m.  Melander was a three-time academic all-Big Ten honoree, recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, and holds the school record for the indoor mile (4:39.78).  Since graduation, she has competed on the roads placing fourth at the 5th Season 8K and 10th at the Bix 7 Mile.  Melander has a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from Iowa and is currently working on her master’s in speech pathology at the University of Minnesota.

Špotáková Euro Athlete of Month for September

Former Gopher All American and two-time Olympic champion in the javelin for the Czech Republic, Barbora Špotáková, was voted European Athlete of the Month for September. During that month, she won her second Olympic title in London and finished out the track season by winning the IAAF Diamond League trophy in her event.

Grandma's Registration

Runners have  one week to take advantage of the lowest registration fee available for the 2013 Grandma’s Marathon. The entry fee for the event’s 37th running is $85 thru October 31, after which it will increase to $90 until January 31. (Complete fee structure below).

Visit to register for the Two Harbors-to-Duluth race – currently the 13th largest marathon in the U.S. – which is set for Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 7:45 a.m. The 26.2-mile race is limited to the first 10,000 participants.

2013 Grandma’s Marathon Entry Fee Structure
$85 - July 1 to October 31
$90 - November 1 to January 31
$95 - February 1 to March 31
$110 - April 1 to May 31

Guaranteed Spots in 2013 and 2014 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon
Every two years, Grandma's Marathon offers a unique opportunity for 100 individuals to purchase guaranteed entries into the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon.

Half of the proceeds from this fundraiser go directly to the Young Athletes Foundation (YAF), a Grandma's Marathon program that assists youth sports and recreation programs in Carlton, Cook, Douglas (Wis.), Lake and St. Louis Counties.

This opportunity will be available for the 2013 and 2014 races and will cost $320 ($160 for the entry fees and $160 contribution to the YAF).

Starting Friday, Oct. 26, those interested in this opportunity will be able to download and print a special entry form at The first 100 entries received by mail will be given the two-year guaranteed entry.

For more information on any of Grandma's Marathon’s races or events, visit

2013 Grandma’s Marathon Online Registration Schedule

Grandma's Marathon (Limited to first 10,000 entrants) Registration Now Open

Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon (6,300 entrants selected via lottery)
Lottery registration open from Feb. 11-22, 2013

William A. Irvin 5K (Limited to first 1,900 entrants)
Registration opens Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NSIC XC Championships; Regional Rankings

Duluth News Tribune story on the NSIC Championships last Saturday is HERE. NSIC press release is HERE. NSIC Championship men's results are HERE, women's are HERE.

In the USTFCCCA NCAA Division II regional poll released today Minnesota State Mankato retained it's third place ranking for men.  Among the women, Winona State moved up one place from third to first, Minnesota State Mankato fell from fourth to seventh, UMD stayed in eighth.

High School Conference Championships

Strib story on Coon Rapids XC athlete Bryna DelCastillo is HERE.

Suburban Conference meet results boys are HERE and girls are HERE. Photo album is HERE

Central Lakes Conference Championship story from the West Central Tribune is HERE.  Boys results are HERE.  Girls results are HERE.

Granite Ridge Conference boys results are HERE.   Girls results are HERE. Photo album is HERE.

Hiawatha Valley Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

North Suburban Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE

Southwest Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

St. Paul City Conference boys results are HERE.  Girls results are HERE.

Tri Metro Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE

Three Rivers Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Minnesota River Conference Championship story from the Belle Plaine Herald is HERE. Boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Classic Lake Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Wright County Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Mississippi Eight Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Northwest Suburban Conference boys results are HERE. Girls results are HERE.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gopher Women's Track and XC Teams Add Coaches

The  Gopher women’s track and field and cross country program has made a few additions to its coaching staff for the 2012-13 season. Former Olympian and All-American Shani Marks Johnson has returned to her alma mater as a volunteer assistant jumps coach, and former Gopher All-Region runner Nikki Swenson has been named a volunteer assistant coach for cross country and track after working as a student assistant last year.

A former Gopher standout, Marks went on to win multiple USA Championships and ultimately compete in the Olympics. She previously served as volunteer assistant for the Gophers from 2003 to 2009. Marks more recently returned to her high school alma mater, Apple Valley, to coach jumps and sprints during the last two years. She has also spent time coaching with the Real Track and Field AAU team and Fuzion Athletics training club, and working as a personal trainer and personal coach.

“Coming back here is a really big deal,” Marks said. “My husband went here, too, so we are huge Gopher fans until the day we die. I couldn’t really see myself coaching anywhere else. I feel definitely connected to the U for the rest of my life. I’m really excited to be able to work with the athletes here.”

In 2008, Marks qualified for the Olympics by winning at the Trials with a career best and Hayward Field record of 47 feet, 2 1/4 inches. She went on to finish 28th in Beijing. Marks is one of three Olympians ever to come out of the Minnesota track and field program. She is the only Golden Gopher track and field athlete to compete for Team USA in the Olympic Games.

During her collegiate career at Minnesota, Marks earned All-America honors during both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2003, with a runner-up finish in triple jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and a sixth-place finish indoors. She was previously an All-American outdoors in 2002. She also won three Big Ten titles: two in outdoor triple jump (2001 and `03), and one in the indoor 600 meters (2001). Marks was a first-team Academic All-American in 2003.

The year after her Gopher career ended, Marks finished fourth at the 2004 US Olympic Trials. In the next four years, she won three USA Outdoor triple jump titles (2006, '07, '08) and two USA Indoor titles (2005 and '07). She competed for Team USA at the 2007 and 2009 Outdoor World Championships, the 2008 Indoor World Championships, and the 2006 World Cup. This past year she helped Amanda Smock train for and make the US team for the 2012 Olympics in London.

“She's coached with me before, and we have a good coaching connection in terms of our style,” director of track and field and cross country Matt Bingle said. “I think she does a good job of understanding the student-athletes and relating with them. She automatically gets respect from them. She's a former Olympian, she's being inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame, and she's one of the greatest triple jumpers ever in the United States. And she's a great person. I think she'll connect well with the team, and I think she'll do a good job of developing them because she's going to have a small group to deal with and can focus on them."

Marks earned her bachelor's degree in public relations in 2002. She completed her master's of education in applied kinesiology in 2003.

Swenson is also set to graduate with a master's degree in applied kinesiology in May 2013. She took on a coaching role following a successful career wearing the Maroon and Gold, serving as a student assistant with the Gopher cross country/distance runners last season.

“It would have been really, really hard for me to just graduate and leave,” Swenson said. “I’m excited about having the opportunity to stick around and help out the girls in the same program that I grew up in and got a lot of help from, having the volunteer assistants and people of leadership around. Having someone like Shani, she has been through the program, too. So we kind of know what they’re going through. Just being able to help them from a different perspective, I think that’s what I’m most excited about.”

Swenson was the Gophers' captain in 2009 and 2010. She claimed 2009 and 2010 NCAA All-Midwest Region honors in cross country and holds Minnesota's 9th-best all-time 6K time (20:45.3-2010) at the Big Ten Championships. Swenson was a member of two (2007 and 2008) Big Ten cross country championship teams as well as (2008 and 2009) Big Ten indoor track team championships. She was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team in indoor track in 2008, 2009 and 2010. She was a member of the Gophers' Big Ten meet rosters all four years of her career.

Swenson competed at the NCAA Cross Country championships her junior and senior seasons after serving as an alternate her first two years. She also qualified for the NCAA outdoor meet twice in the 1,500 meters and once in the 800 meters.  University of Minnesota Morris standout Linda Keller said recently that Swenson was a role model for her, not only for her ability, but for her kindness and willingness to help others.

“From my perspective, it’s nice not only to have Sarah Hesser taking over as head coach next year, but also to have someone of Nikki’s caliber as the top assistant,” said head cross country coach Gary Wilson, who is retiring following the 2013 track season. “She had a very good career as a Gopher before she became a student assistant here, and she is ready for the next step as a volunteer assistant.”

Jack's Run Results

The Golden Gopher cross country team hosted the fifth annual edition of Jack’s Run at Les Bolstad Golf Course on Saturday. Gopher junior Cassy Opitz won women’s 6K race in 22:30. Men's 6K race was won by Austin Hinrichs of Run N Fun in 20:48.  Women's results are HERE.  Men's results are HERE

Boys Class AA Coaches XC Rankings

1              Stillwater
2              Wayzata
3              Edina
4              Hopkins
5              Eden Prairie
6              Minneapolis Southwest
7              Owatonna
8              Rosemount
9              Centennial
10           Bemidji
11           Minnetonka
12           Burnsville
Others receiving votes: Eastview, White Bear Lake

1              Osba Ali, Richfield
2              Wayde Hall, Stillwater
3              Kevin Docherty, Cretin-Derham Hall
4              Joe Klecker, Hopkins
5              Connor Olson, Wayzata
6              Will Burke, Edina
7              Joey Duerr, Chaska
8              Steven Cotter, Andover
9              Zack Benning, Hastings
10           Eric  Colvin, Stillwater
11           Brendan Sage, StMichael-Albertville
12           Isaiah Barlow, Hutchinson
Others receiving votes: Ahmed Bule, St. Paul Central; Nick Oelke, Eastview

Girls Class AA Coaches XC Rankings

1.       Eagan  
2.       Wayzata
3.       East Ridge 
4.       Edina
5.       Chanhassen
6.       Lakeville South  
7.       Eden Prairie
8.       Monticello
9.       Willmar 
10.   Moorhead
11.   Minnetonka
12.   Shakopee
Others receiving votes:  Forest Lake , Prior Lake, Marshall, Albert Lea, Hopkins, Totino Grace, Roseville, Chaska
1.       Maria Hauger, 12, Shakopee
2.       Danielle Anderson, 12, Eagan
3.       Jenna Truedson, 10, Bemidji 
4.       Bethany Hasz, 9, Alexandria   
5.       Megan Hasz, 9, Alexandria   
6.       Bethany Kozak, 11, White Bear Lake
7.       Anna French, 10, Wayzata 
8.       Carly Bandt, 11 Mounds View  
9.       Taylor Perkins, 12, Lakeville North
10.   Rachel King, 10, SMA
11.   Mariah Betzler, 11, Monticello
12.   Amber Seidenkranz, 11, Monticello
Others receiving votes:  Grace Loeslie, 10, Chanhassen; Noelle Olson, 12, Big Lake;
Anastasia Korzenowski, 8, Chanhassen;  Kaytlyn Larson, 10, Lakeville South; Anna Maurer, 11,Hill-Murray; Bailey Ness, 11, East Ridge; Emily Betz, 10, East Ridge; Hannah Jeter, 11, Eden Prairie