Before the Big Ten championships, senior Laura Docherty said she wanted to finish in the top 10 and best last year’s result. Docherty did just that over the weekend, leading the Gophers to a third-place overall finish and placing third individually. “To go out with my best finish for cross country was really exciting,” she said. Docherty finished with a time of 21:03.9, narrowly edging out Ohio State’s Michelle Thomas and Michigan State’s Katie Landwehr.
The Gophers women’s cross country team heads to the Big Ten championships fresh off an eighth-place finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. After that race, head coach Sarah Hopkins said she was thrilled with the results, but the team wasn’t yet at its best. Her runners agreed. “We all know that none of us had our best day,” senior Laura Docherty said. “No one did bad, but we all know that we have a lot more. So that was also really encouraging.”
The Gophers’ top-producing line looks a lot like it did last year, based on personnel. Minnesota returned sophomores Hannah Brandt and Maryanne Menefee, two of the three forwards who make up the line. But the player missing from the trio changes the line’s whole complexion. The Gophers are without forward Amanda Kessel this season while she competes for the U.S. national team. Kessel was the nation’s leading scorer last season with 101 points, and Gophers head coach Brad Frost called her “arguably the best player in the world.”
The University of Minnesota’s men’s and women’s hockey teams are currently both ranked No. 1 in the nation. But before the players hit the ice on game day, Lon Sorenson and his team of student workers have work to do. “If I don’t do my job, we don’t have a game,” he said. Sorenson is the lead icemaker at the University, and without him, the games wouldn’t happen.
Minnesota’s top runners had a night off Saturday in anticipation of next weekend’s Big Ten championships. Meanwhile, the rest of the team raced at Jack’s Twilight Run. Though a trip to the Big Ten meet wasn’t on the line for Saturday’s runners, head coach Sarah Hopkins said she was impressed by the way her team performed.
The Gophers might not have been at their best this weekend against Bemidji State, but they did enough to come away with two wins. Minnesota won 4-0 on Friday and 4-3 on Saturday in Bemidji, Minn., to run its record to 8-0-0 this season. Junior forward Meghan Lorence said the weekend was an “eye opener” for the team.
Jack Johnson died from liver cancer in 2006, but his legacy lives on at the University of Minnesota. Johnson was a longtime equipment manager with the Gophers, and Saturday evening, the women’s cross country team will run in Jack’s Twilight Run — an annual race in his honor. Former head women’s cross country coach Gary Wilson said Johnson’s passion for the University was unmatched.
In high school, Gophers freshman forwards Dani Cameranesi and Kate Schipper were opponents. But now they’re not only playing on the same team — they’re on the same line. Along with senior forward Kelly Terry, the trio has been one of the most productive lines for the Gophers so far this season. Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said all three forwards are similar players, and they’re probably three of the fastest players in the country.
For No. 1 Minnesota, success at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn., is nothing new. That success continued this weekend with a sweep over No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth. The Gophers skated to 4-0 and 6-3 wins over the Bulldogs on Friday and Saturday. The two games were very different, but Minnesota used a balanced scoring attack to secure two wins. “Any time you can sweep on the road, in particular up in Duluth, is a great weekend,” head coach Brad Frost said. On Friday, sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille recorded 26 saves for her second consecutive shutout.
Gophers head coach Sarah Hopkins said her team is right where she wants it to be at this point in the season. No. 22 Minnesota finished eighth out of 37 teams at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in a field rich with talented teams. “This is the time of year when you want to start running well, and we definitely are,” Hopkins said. The race was the team’s last checkpoint before the Big Ten championships early next month.