Saturday, August 3, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Women's #20- Minnesota

Editor's note: For the next month, The Wood Report will be counting down projected team finishes in this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN.

Head Coach: Sarah Hesser (1st Season)
2012 National Finish- 22nd

Key Returners from 2012
  • Molly Kayfes (Jr..,9:30 Open 3k, 16:15 5k)
  • Laura Docherty (Sr., 9:23 Open 3k, 16:10 5k, 33:24 10k)
  • Maggie Bollig (Sr., 4:27 1500m, 9:43 Open 3k
  • Katie Moraczewski (Sr., 9:37 Open 3k, 10:14 3k Steeple)
  • Ashlie Decker (Jr., 9:36 Open 3k, 16:53 5k, 10:40 3k Steeple)
  • Rachel Drake (Sr., 9:44 Open 3k, 16:53 5k, 34:47 10k)
  • Liz Berkholtz (So., 9:45 Open 3k, 16:42 5k, 35:11 10k)

Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Tess Wasowicz (Fr., 4:59 1600m,  2 x NXN Nats Qualifier)
  • Danielle Anderson (Fr., 10:24 3200m, 16:43 5k (2nd NBON 5k '12), 

Season Preview

Coach Sarah Hesser steps into her new role as Head Women's Cross Country coach with quite possibly the deepest team in the country. Her scenario could not be more fun for any first time head coach, especially for one that has paid her dues as long as Coach Hesser has. She inherits a squad that brings back every single woman that ran on their 22nd place team at Nationals in 2012. 

It will be hard to find a team that has the kind of quality depth that the Gophers have. Across the board, every single one of their top seven from 2012 has run sub-17 for 5k and sub-9:45 for 3k. A few of these ladies also have very good 10k PRs. 

Molly Kayfes and Laura Docherty are the two top girls for Minnesota from their 2012 team that is all back for 2013. Kayfes seems to have been a little bit better as the season went on for the Gophers as she led the team at the Regional and National meets. On the other hand, Docherty was by far their best girl on the track and has the fastest 5k and 10k PRs of the bunch. This 1-2 punch is very good and both of these girls could be looking at All-American in Terre Haute. 

To follow this nice duo are five other girls all capable of placing 3-7 on any given day. Katie Moraczewski, Ashlie Decker, and Mollie Bollig all traded off being the no. 3 girl during the Conference, Regional and National meets. The good news is that these three ladies are all going to be challenging each other for that spot in every race which will obviously make them that much better. Moraczewski is the better track athlete of the three, but Bollig has better wheels and Decker the best range of the bunch. 

Rachel Drake and Liz Berkholtz both have good range and are capable 10k runners which will prove useful as the season goes on. With the Regional meet and the National meet being even closer together, their abilities to go up in distance will help them as their strength should shine with a shorter break. 

If Minnesota was already loaded enough, they bring in a solid recruiting class highlighted by Danielle Anderson. Anderson is an accomplished high school runner her placed 2nd overall at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals 5k in 2012 and ran 16:43. That time alone would easily put her in the mix for the top five. Tess Wasowicz ran on a good high school team that helped her qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals two times, this kind of experience will be valuable in her transition from high school to college.

Minnesota's fourth place finish at the Big 10 meet in 2012 behind three very good teams (Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State) and third place finish at the Regional, are good motivators for the Gophers in 2013. If the above mentioned teams are not careful, Minnesota could surprise all of them and beat them. With this kind of depth of returning, experienced cross country runners, Minnesota could well find themselves finishing in the top 10 in Terre Haute.

1 comment:

  1. I find it incredible that more blogs and forums are not as pleasant as this one. Often times when I land on a website page the articles and other content is so deficient that I move on without delay. That is not the case here. Thanks so much.