Athlete of the Month

December 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that the Wayzata boys cross country team and Hanna Grinaker are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for December 2007.

Wayzata is recognized for winning the MSHSL Class AA State title, the Nike Team Nationals Heartland Regional crown, and for finishing 20th at the Nike Team National meet. The Trojans went undefeated this year, prior to Nike Team Nationals.

Grinaker, a Detroit Lakes native who is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, is honored for being the top-finishing Minnesotan at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana where she finished 25th.

November 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Chris Erichsen and the University of Minnesota's women's cross country team are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for November 2007.

Erichsen is recognized for winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference cross country title at St. Paul Como Golf Course with a course record-setting time of 24:45. Erichsen helped the Johnnies defend their MIAC team title with the effort.

The Gopher women are honored for winning the program's first-ever Big Ten cross country crown. The Gopher track and cross country program has now won Big Ten titles in cross country and indoor and outdoor track in the past year and a half.

October 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Jason Lehmkuhle and Katie McGregor are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for October 2007.

Lehmkuhle, a member of Team USA Minnesota,  is recognized for his runner-up finish at the USA Men's 10 Mile Championship held in conjunction with the Medtronic Twin Cities 10  Mile on October 7. Lehmkule clocked 47:48 to finish second to two-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman who won in a course-record 47:34.

McGregor, also of Team USA Minnesota, is recognized for her own second place finish at the USA Women's 10K Championships in Boston on October 8. McGregor ran 32:41 to finish second to Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor who won in 32:01.

September 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to annound that Kara Goucher and Tom Langenfeld are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for September 2007.

Goucher, a Duluth native now living in Oregon, is recognized for winning the USA's first-ever world championships medal in the 10,000 meters at the  IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan in August. Goucher, finished third in the event, clocking 32 minutes, 2.05 seconds.

Langenfeld, a 72-year-old masters athlete from Edina, is honored for winning the M70 high jump title at the USA Masters Track and Field Championships in Orono, Maine in August. The title was Langenfeld's 16th masters high jump title. Langenfeld leaped 4 feet, 8 and 1/4 inches for the win this year.

August 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Alicia Rue and Chris Lundstrom are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for August 2007.

Rue earns the award after winning the Pan American Junior Games pole vault last month as a member of the USA team.  The University of Minnesota sophomore-to-be cleared a PR 13-9 1/4 for the victory.  Rue had finished second in the USA Junior meet in Indianapolis in June to earn the trip to São Paulo, Brazil for Pan Am Juniors.

Men’s honoree Chris Lundstrom is recognized for his 6th place finish in the Pan Am Games marathon.  The Northfield High School grad clocked 2:17:34 over the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil course.  Lundstrom, who is a member of Team USA Minnesota, is now pointing for the Olympic Marathon Trials to be held November 3 in New York City.

July 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Jim Dilling and Shani Marks are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for July 2007.

Dilling, a recent Minnesota State - Mankato graduate, earned the distinction for men after unexpectedly winning the USA high Jump title at the AT&T USA Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis. Dilling cleared 7-5 1/4 to win the title and earn a spot on the USA Team for the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan. Dilling was a four-time NCAA Division II champion for the Mavericks.

Marks is honored for defending her USA title in the triple jump in Indianapolis. The University of Minnesota grad hopped, stepped, and jumped 46-2 1/2 for the victory and her own trip to Osaka for Worlds. Marks has now won three straight USA triple jump crowns - the 2006 outdoor title and the 2007 indoor and outdoor titles.

June 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Derek Gearman and Sheena Devine are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for June 2007.

Gearman, a senior at the University of Minnesota, is recognized for qualifying for the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships in three jumping events. Gearman placed 4th in the NCAA Midwest Region triple jump with a mark of 51 feet, 8 1/4 inches to automatically qualify in that event. He later earned at-large entry into nationals in the long and high jumps, after placing 6th in both at Regions. Gearman's top finish at nationals was 12th in the triple jump.

Devine, a junior at Bemidji State University and originally from North Branch, is honored for winning the NCAA Division II shot put with a toss of 50-7 1/2. Devine's win was her second national shot put title of the track season; she was the Division II champ indoors as well.

May 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that the Golden Gopher women’s relay teams from the Drake Relays and Rob Finnerty are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for May 2007.

The Golden Gopher women’s 4 x 800 meter, 4 x 1600 meter, and distance medley relay teams were recognized for their “triple crown” of victories at the Drake Relays on April 27 and 28. The 4 x 800 team of Jamie Cheever, Gabriele Anderson, Julie Schwengler, and Heather Dorniden broke the Drake Relays record in the event with their victorious 8:27.42 clocking. The 4 x 1600 team of Cheever, Elizabeth Yetzer, Anderson, and Emily Brown ran the fastest time in the nation with their 19:07.75 performance in the event, which broke the meet record the 2006 Gopher team set. The DMR of Yetzer, Dorniden, Ayla Mitchell, and Brown ran 11:08.16 for their win. 

Finnerty, a Burnsville High School junior, is recognized for winning the Boys 3200 meter run in 9:04.55 at the Hamline Elite meet on April 27.  The 2005 MSHSL Class AA 3200 meter champ beat a star-studded field that included USA Junior Men’s Cross Country champion Elliott Heath of Winona and 4th place Footlocker National Cross Country finisher Hassan Mead of Minneapolis South.

April 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Katelin Rains and Will Leer are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for April 2007.

Rains, a sophomore at Minnesota State – Mankato, is honored for winning the NCAA Division II indoor pole vault title last month.  Rains cleared a meet-record 14 feet to break the meet record held by Minnesota State’s own Amanda Frame from 2005.

Leer, a Minnetonka High School graduate who is a senior at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, was recognized for defending his NCAA Division III indoor title in the mile breaking his own meet record with a 4:08.19 clocking.  Leer doubled back to finish third in the 5000 meters at the meet in 14:34.24.

March 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Shani Marks and Elliott Heath are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for March 2007.

Marks, a former Apple Valley High School and Minnesota Golden Gopher standout, is recognized for winning the triple jump title at the AT&T USA Indoor Championships in Boston in February.  Marks jumped 44 feet, 6 inches for the victory.  Marks won the 2006 USA Outdoor title in the event as well.

Heath, a Winona Senior High School star, is recognized for his surprise victory in the junior men’s division at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, Colorado last month.  Heath ran 26 minutes, 7 seconds over the muddy 8K course.  With the victory he earned the right to compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya.

February 2007
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Jim Dilling and Liz Alabi are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for February 2007.

Dilling, a senior at Minnesota State – Mankato is recognized for his 7 foot, 6-1/2 inch high jump victory at the Wisconsin Elite Invitational on January 27.  Dilling is currently the top ranked high jumper in NCAA Division II and the #3 jumper in the entire U.S. this season.

Alabi, a senior at the University of Minnesota and a graduate of Brooklyn Center High School, is recognized for her record-breaking performance in the 20-pound weight throw at the Jack Johnson Minnesota Classic on January 20.  There, Alabi tossed the weight 63 feet, 5-1/2 inches to set a new meet record in the event.