Cross country team closes out regular season

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The Gophers women’s cross country team competes against other Division I teams at the Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Saturday, Sept. 23 in St. Paul.

The Minnesota cross country team braved rocky weather to finish off its fall season.

The No. 23 Gophers closed its regular season Sunday with the 38th annual Rocky’s Run meet. It rained all morning at Les Bolstad Golf Course, and the rain increased in intensity just before race time.

The elements were a major factor affecting everyone’s running.

“This is unusual because we don’t usually get wet and cold at the same time, but we happen to have it today and we haven’t had it like this for many years,” said former USATF Minnesota President Rick Recker. “Last year was nice … sunshine and cooler temperatures.”

On a day when times didn’t mean a whole lot given the conditions of the course, Tate Sweeney placed fifth overall and first among the Gophers’ runners. Behind her were Sarah Werking (sixth), Libby Halbmaier (eighth), Carissa Dock (10th), Ally Smith (12th), Lindsey Greenlund (13th), Maria Eastman (14th) and Abby Kargol (15th), to wrap up the top 15 runners in a field of about 100 athletes.

Women’s team head coach Sarah Hopkins seemed pleased with what she saw out of her team.

“Welcome to cross country … for better or for worse this is kind of what you get in cross country season. Rain, sleet, snow … I think we got all of it in one twenty-five minute race, so that’s always fun,” Hopkins said. “I was proud of them … the fact that they got out here and were still positive and energetic and battled well and battled hard, I thought was really, really good.”

The rest of the program will have about one week to prepare before the NCAA Midwest Regional meet in Peoria, Illinois on Friday.

“You just never know, I’ve told all of these guys that next year at this time they could be getting ready for the regional meet, and the regional meet could easily look like this, so you’ve just got to be ready for anything.” Hopkins said.

Rocky’s Run is put on each year to honor the memory of Rochelle “Rocky” Racette. She was an All-American in track and field and cross country for the University of Minnesota before dying in a car accident in 1981 at the age of 22.

Many of Rocky’s family members were in attendance on Sunday, braving the cold weather in Falcon Heights to support the women’s cross country program. The meet is open to competitors from the public. It raises money for a scholarship awarded to a Minnesota student athlete each year.

Drew Lannoye of Minneapolis won this year’s race in a time of 18:49.5. Afterward, he reflected on how the weather affected his performance.

“Honestly, once you got out there it was fine because you’re warming up,” Lannoye said. “My hands were numb the whole time, but you don’t even notice that because the effort is so hard.”

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