Minnesota's cross country program could not have asked for a better start to their season as both the men's and women's teams won the 20th annual Oz Memorial Run at Les Bolstad Golf Course Friday night.
On the men's side, the four-mile race came down to a tight finish for first place between three of the Gophers' top runners. Ultimately, redshirt junior Owen Hoeft won the race with a time of 20:37.8, with redshirt sophomore Jordan MacIntosh and redshirt junior Jack Manderscheid finishing closely behind at second and third respectively. Redshirt junior Alec Basten, the Gophers' top runner a season ago, did not compete in the meet.
Hoeft said it felt good to run with his teammates after training throughout the offseason. This was Hoeft's first career win, and he is the first on the men's team to win the Oz Memorial since 2016.
Minnesota divided their runners into two different teams for the meet. The Gold team won the meet with 21 points, and the Maroon team finished second with 34 points. Minnesota-Duluth and Drake finished third and fourth respectively.
Men's Head Coach Steve Plasencia said it is difficult to judge how the team is doing because of it being the first meet of the season. However, he said it was a breakout meet for some of the runners and was pleased with the results.
"I think it’s a good start to get going and get moving," Plasencia said. "I think there's better things to come."
After the men competed, the Gopher women beat Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud State in the six-kilometer race. Minnesota finished with a total of 15 points and had the top 15 runners in the race.
Redshirt sophomore Anastasia Korzenowski finished in first place with a six-kilometer time of 21:40.3. Behind Korzenowski, redshirt sophomore Jaycie Thomsen finished in second by 28 seconds. Redshirt junior Carissa Dock, redshirt junior Lindsey Greenlund and resdhirt sophomore Tate Sweeney rounded out the top five scorers for the Gophers.
Seniors Bethany and Megan Hasz competed in this race but ran unattached, meaning their scores did not count toward Minnesota's team score. Bethany finished third overall while Megan finished fourth.
Minnesota's cross country program does not compete again until the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28. Both women's Head Coach Sarah Hopkins and Plasencia plan to use this atypical break as a time for their runners to recover and prepare for the remainder of the season.
"[I'm] pleased that we can come out of this and get back to training but really gain some great experience so that we can keep building off of this," Hopkins said. "But I think this is a great spot to be building from just even compared to last year at this time."
The Oz Memorial race is in memory of Gary Osborn. Osborn was the head coach of women's cross country at Drake University from 1989 to 1999 and was a friend of former Minnesota coach Gary Wilson. Osborn passed away on May 21, 2000 at the age of 56.