On Friday, the Minnesota cross country program competed at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet on Newman Golf Course in Peoria, Illinois. The No. 23-ranked women’s team ended up in third place with a score of 185 points, and the men’s team finished in fifth place with 173 team points.
For the women, Bethany Hasz placed eighth with a time of 20:42.3, and Megan Hasz finished 10th overall in 20:44.3. Patty O’Brien finished just behind the twins with a personal record time of 21:26.5. She finished in 37th place overall.
Two freshmen in Jaycie Thomsen and Anastasia Korzenowski also finished in the top-five for the Gophers. Thomsen finished in 63rd place and Korzenowski finished in 67th place of the meet-wide results.
Only the top two teams from each region receive automatic bids to the NCAA Cross Country Championships meet, so the team had to wait until Saturday afternoon to learn they won an at-large bid during a NCAA selection show.
Meanwhile, for the men’s team, redshirt sophomore Alec Basten and redshirt junior Evan Ferlic walked away with NCAA All-Region honors. Basten finished 20th in 31:22.7 and Ferlic was 24th with a time of 31:30.3. Not far behind them were Jack Manderscheid in 30th, Robert Wagner in 44th and Joey Duerr in 55th.
The fifth place team finish was not strong enough to earn the men's team a trip to the 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championship meet.
However, a day later on Saturday, women’s team head coach Sarah Hopkins and her nine runners were grateful to learn that they had received an at-large bid during an announcement in the inaugural NCAA Cross Country Selection Show. Minnesota was one of 13 teams invited to the national meet and it will be its 13th time at the meet in the last 14 years.
"It's awesome. I think this team deserves to be there. They have battled hard all year and proven that they are one of the top-31 teams in the country," Hopkins said. "Being one of only 31 teams out of 380 some odd Division-I teams in the country is amazing."