Twice every week Oregon junior Dasha Vorontsov trains in a pool as she gets back into a rhythm after battling a stress fracture.
The extra work she is putting in training is paying off after she finished second in the 5,000-meter Stoughton Invitational with a time of 19 minutes, 25.6 seconds on Saturday, Oct. 2, at Stoughton High School.
“Dasha is an unbelievable worker,” Oregon coach Doug Debroux said. “She puts her whole heart and soul into the race for the team. We are all in awe when Dasha gets to the line.”
Monona Grove freshman Mackenzie Babcock won the race by 35 seconds over Vorontsov. Oregon took sixth out of 12 teams with 140 points. The invitational featured four of the state’s top 20 teams in Division 1. Madison West, ranked fourth, captured the team title 48-79 over 13th-ranked Monona Grove. Waunakee, ranked No. 16, finished third and Middleton, the top-ranked team which rested its top five runners, placed fifth (132).
“The competition was fantastic,” Debroux said. “That’s why we go there. It was a great test and exactly what we needed at this point in the season.”
Oregon junior Libby Beirne took 24th (21:33.9) and senior Amelia Hermanson finished 31st (21:48.3) followed by senior Grace Riedl who placed 32nd (21:50.8). Sophomore Mari Ceaca-Villa placed 51st (22:36.8).
“With Libby, Amelia and Grace we are really pleased with how we are training,” Debroux said. “They are all running well together in racing situations.”
Debroux said the gap between the Panthers’ No. 5 runner (Ceaca-Villa) and Vorontsov as the team's top runner was a little more than three minutes, the lowest this season.
“It’s such a team sport,” he said. “That is a big key for us. Mari is closing that gap and getting faster.”