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Gopher to Badger races draw a record turnout

Matt Volz, a junior on the University of Minnesota cross country team, nears the finish of the Gopher to Badger half marathon in Lakefront Park. He won the race with a time of 1:13:31. Photo by Randy Hanson

Matt Volz wasn't slowed down by the rain that fell shortly after the start of the 2009 Gopher to Badger Half Marathon on Saturday morning.

The 20-year-old University of Minnesota cross country runner improved his time by three minutes from last year, and went on to win the race in one hour, 13 minutes and 31 seconds.

"It was very wet," Volz, of Lakeville, Minn., said of the start of the race in Stillwater. The 13.1-mile course ended in Hudson's Lakefront Park.

A record 768 runners completed the half marathon, and another 356 ran the Gopher to Badger five-kilometer race.

Sixty-five runners with Hudson or Houlton addresses participated in the half marathon, and 49 completed the 5K.

The women's half marathon winner was Kasey Shoquist, 27, of Minneapolis. Her time was 1:26:54.

Jason Phillippi, 22, of Maplewood, Minn., won the 5K race in a time of 16 minutes, 14 seconds.

The top woman was Alyssa Salava, 17, of Oakdale, Minn., who had a time of 19:18 and placed sixth overall.

A number of Hudson runners turned in impressive performances.

In the half marathon, Joe Abbott, 28, placed 11th overall with a time of 1:26:00. Dominic Siwik, 39, had a time of 1:26:48 to place 14th overall. Neil Skoog, 21, was 22nd overall with a time of 1:29:11.

Julie Lother, 34, placed fifth among women and was first in the 30-39 age group with a time of 1:34:17. Taren Weyer, 32, was 11th among women and third in her age group. Michelle Bee, 30, finished ninth in the same age group.

Among women ages 40-49, Susan Malecha placed second, Donna Pittman was seventh, and Melissa Drake, 11th.

Sherri Singer came in second among women ages 50-59.

Bob Singer was sixth in the men's 60-69 age group and Steve Schroeder was seventh.

In the 5K, Josh Waltjer, 15, placed 11th overall and third in the men's 19 and under age group.

Emma Ide, 17, finished ninth in the women's 19-and-under group.

Three Hudsonites finished in the top eight in the men's 30-39 age group. Reed Roebbeke, 33, won the age group competition with a time of 21:30; Greg Ewig, 38, was third with a time of 22:13; and Mike Schulz, 39, was eighth with a time of 23:43.

Hudson women also did well in the 30-39 age group. Kelli Mutschler, 36, came in first with a time of 21:28; Suzanne Ferrara, 31, was third at 24:01; Jamie Bezanson, 33, was fifth at 24:54; and Kimberly Roebbeke was 11th at 26:10.

Christy Schulz placed sixth, and Cindy Meyer, ninth, among women 40-49.

Dean Martinson placed second, and Daryl Jones, seventh, in the men's 50-59 age group.

Melissa Porter was third, and Melissa Frisvold, sixth, among women 50-59.

Race organizer Mark Bongers of Final Stretch Inc. said having the Bohannon Group of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Hudson as a major sponsor improved participation in this year's Gopher to Badger races.

Bongers said a total of about 1,300 runners registered for the races, which was between 300 and 400 more than last year.

The Bohannon Group used the Gopher to Badger races as a fundraiser for the Bohannon Group Foundation, which donates to local groups and charities such as Children's Cancer Research.

The Hudson High School cross country team worked the race course and will receive a couple of thousand dollars or more for doing it.

For more stats and photos from this event, see the August 13th print edition of the Hudson Star-Observer.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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