Minnesota's cross country program had a strong showing in the second straight weekend of competition for both the men's and women's teams.
On the women's side, the Gophers finished ninth overall against a competitive field at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational on Friday with 265 points. Utah took home the team title with 110 points.
The race featured nine of the top 25 teams in the country. Minnesota entered the meet ranked No. 29.
With the Gophers running against difficult competition, head coach Sarah Hopkins was excited with the efforts her team displayed in Indiana.
"I was thrilled, honestly," Hopkins said. "I thought even a top-15 finish in today’s field would be a really solid showing. Obviously a top ten finish was a big goal. Being ninth and beating some really good teams, I’m thrilled."
The Gophers once again were led by redshirt sophomore Anastasia Korzenowski. In a tight and crowded field, Korzenowski finished 24th overall with a five kilometer time of 16:49.72. The top runner at the meet was Weini Kelati of New Mexico who ran a 16:01.61.
But what defined the team's success on Friday was the competitiveness of the rest of the Gophers. Jaycie Thomsen, Abby Kohut-Jackson, Zetta Mason and Olivia Hummel all ran well and rounded out Minnesota's top five runners that contributed to the team's score. Hopkins said the team will need continue to shrink the gap between the team's top runner and fifth-best runner.
"We are going to be a team that does well because of our group, not simply because of a low stick," Hopkins said. "It’s great to have Anastasia as a low stick and I think she’ll continue to get better as she develops but it’s also important that we don’t just assume a gap there."
The men's team had a successful showing on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.The team was powered by redshirt junior Alec Basten's record-breaking performance and third place finish at the meet. Basten broke the previous school record in an eight kilometer race with a time of 23:26.7.
The Gopher men finished fifth overall at the meet with 223 points. Redshirt juniors Jack Manderscheid and Owen Hoeft also had strong outings at the meet, finishing 10th and 35th respectively.
After two consecutive weekends of competing, Minnesota's cross country program will have two weeks of training until the next meets. The women's team will travel to Madison, Wisconsin for the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Friday, Oct.18 and the men will run in the Pre-National Invitational hosted by Indiana State on Saturday, Oct. 19.