Goucher to run marathon or 10,000 at World Championships

Kara Goucher surprised running fans recently when accepting a spot on the U.S. women’s marathon team for the World Track and Field Championships in August in Daegu, Korea. She had said, following the Boston Marathon on April 18, she wouldn’t run another marathon until the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in January in Houston.

But Goucher may not run a marathon in Korea.

She’ll compete in the women’s 10,000-meter final at the U.S. Track and Field Championships on June 23 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.  If she places in the top three and qualifies for the American team, the former Duluthian will run the 10,000 in Daegu and give up her marathon spot. The 10,000-meter A qualifying standard is 31:45.

The World Championships 10,000 final and women’s marathon final are Aug. 27.

Goucher wrote at her Competitor.com blog recently about what’s ahead here.

The USA Track and Field press release on America’s World Championships marathon teams is here.

Place 13th in 5,000; Beutz second in pole vault

Minnesota Duluth junior Morgan Place of Ellsworth, Wis., finished 13th in a field of 17 in the NCAA Division II women’s outdoor track and field championships Saturday night, at 5,000 meters, in Turlock, Calif.

Place ran 17 minutes, 1.29 seconds. Shippensburg junior Neely Spence won in a stadium record 16:17.0 at the California State-Stanislaus track. Place was 12th at 10,000 meters Thursday.

UMD senior Jason Beutz of Foley, Minn., placed second in the men’s pole vault, matching his school record of 16 feet, 10 inches. Western Washington senior Ryan Brown won with 17-1 3/4.

Official results here and here.

UMD’s Place sets school 10,000-meter record

Minnesota Duluth All-American junior Morgan Place broke her school 10,000-meter record Thursday night in finishing 12th in the NCAA Division II women’s final in the outdoor track and field championships in Turlock, Calif. She ran 35 minutes, 24.54 seconds lowering her best of 35:27.70, set in 2010.

Western Washington senior Sarah Porter set a meet record to win the event in 33:17.39. Results are here.

Raymond takes a hit, goes to Stanley Cup finals

Former Minnesota Duluth winger Mason Raymond of the Vancouver Canucks had a hand injury earlier this season and suffered two broken teeth Tuesday night in a Western Conference clinching effort in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Yet, he’ll be in the Stanley Cup championship series which makes the bad times a little easier to take.

Raymond, 25, from Cochrane, Alberta, is in his fourth NHL season. He has 60 goals and 76 assists for 136 points in 273 regular-season games. He has 15 points in 40 playoff games.

During the regular season in 2010-11, he had 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in 70 games, and in 18 playoff games has two goals and six assists.

The Postmedia News took a look at Raymond following Tuesday’s 3-2 double-overtime win over San Jose on Tuesday in a story here.

The Vancouver Sun had a Raymond story last month about how proud the folks are in Camrose, Alberta, where he played junior hockey. That story is here.

A video of Raymond is here.

A shootout spin-o-rama move against the New York Islanders in January is on a video here.

While with UMD, Raymond had 25 goals and 49 assists for 74 points in 79 games from 2005-07.

Welinski season ends; NHL combine and draft ahead

Defenseman Andy Welinski of Duluth, a Minnesota Duluth recruit, saw his U.S. Hockey League season end Saturday with the Green Bay Gamblers.

Dubuque (Iowa) rallied for a 6-1 victory before a record crowd of 3,480 at the Mystique Ice Center in Dubuque. That clinched a 3-1 best-of-five Clark Cup title series win over the defending champions from Green Bay.

Welinski, 18, a high school senior, finished the regular season and playoffs with eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 62 games, and was a plus-15.

He was listed No. 48 in the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau rankings leading to the 2011 Entry Draft June 24-25 at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Welinski, along with UMD goalie recruit Matt McNeely, will first attend the NHL Scouting Combine starting Monday through June 4.

The Hockey News takes a look at Welinski in a story here.

The United States of Hockey blog by Chris Peters mentions Welinski in a recent post here.

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald has a wrap on the Clark Cup series here.

The Green Bay Press Gazette has a final game story here.

Also, on Monday the Sioux City (Iowa) Musketeers officially introduced Duluthian Brett Larson as new head coach and general manager. See what the former UMD assistant coach said in his first day on the job in a Sioux City Journal story here.

Brett Larson to Sioux City

Minnesota Duluth’s championship season continues to touch the men’s hockey team nearly six weeks after an NCAA title victory.

Assistant coach Brett Larson accepted the head coach and general manager position with Sioux City (Iowa) of the United
States Hockey League on Friday and is leaving the program after three successful years.

Since beating Michigan on April 9 in the Division I finals:

UMD has had freshman defenseman Justin Faulk, junior winger Mike Connolly and senior wingers Justin Fontaine and Kyle Schmidt sign professional contracts; while UMD head coach Scott Sandelin signed a five-year contract extension. Larson, 38, a Duluth native and former UMD captain, starts his new job Monday.

“I’m a Duluth guy and a Bulldog through and through, but I’m also like any other assistant coach, my goal has been to be a head coach,” Larson said Sunday. “If we hadn’t won the national championship, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten a chance like this.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, to tell Scott I was taking this job. UMD wanted me back and made me a good offer. Working with Scott (Sandelin) and our staff the last three years, and with the players in our program, prepared me for this opportunity. I owe a lot to them.”

Larson was approached by Sioux City officials 10 days ago and talked by phone with Craig Woodcroft, one of three owners based in St. Louis. Woodcroft also got Sandelin’s input last week and Larson was flown to St. Louis for a Thursday interview and agreed to a four-year contract. Woodcroft said he received 70 applications for the job and that six candidates were interviewed.

Sandelin agreed to his contract extension last week and is working with UMD officials for improved contracts for his assistants, including Derek Plante, beginning his second season. UMD assistant coaching contracts are typically on a one-year renewable basis. Larson made $68,000 in 2010-11.

“Brett is a great communicator, excellent coach, good recruiter and has a great work ethic. It’s a big loss for us, but he was going to be a head coach somewhere, soon,” Sandelin said Sunday. “I’m happy for him.

“We have a great assistant in Derek and we’ll look for a great replacement for Brett.”

Sandelin said he hopes to have the assistant coaching job posted this week and make a hire sometime in June. He went through the hiring process a year ago when Plante was picked to follow Steve Rohlik, who became an associate head coach at Ohio State.

Sioux City coach Luke Strand, 38, a former Wisconsin-Eau Claire player, was fired April 22 after two seasons and a record of 58-47 and 15 overtime losses. The Musketeers were 31-23 in 2010-11 and lost in the first round of the U.S. Hockey League playoffs. Assistant coaches Cam Ellsworth and Keith Paulsen have remained with the team.

UMD went 71-40-15 in Larson’s three years as an assistant, advancing to the NCAA tournament twice. Woodcroft, whose group has owned Sioux City for one year, said UMD’s style was a critical element in the coaching choice.

“Brett brings a high-octane brand of hockey to Sioux City,” Woodcroft said in a news release. “His teams have a reputation of being fast, offensive-minded and physical, evidenced by the championship team Brett helped build. We were impressed by his work ethic, passion and knowledge of the game.”

Larson played professionally for 12 years, including as a player-coach with the San Diego Gulls of the West Coast Hockey League, before joining UMD’s staff in 2008-09. The former defenseman played 133 games with UMD through 1995.

“This was an opportunity I had to look at. And the more the (Sioux City) owners talked about their vision for the team, the more excited I became about the chance to be a head coach,” said Larson.

One of his first official duties will be attending U.S. Hockey League general manager meetings Friday in Chicago.

Adam Johnson praised

When Hibbing sophomore forward Adam Johnson was chosen with the first pick of the second round in Monday’s U.S. Hockey League Entry Draft by Indiana, the Minnesota Duluth recruit received high praise from the Ice.

“He is a very explosive, offensive-minded player,” said Indiana vice-president of player personnel Brad Lutsch.  “We expect to see him in an Ice jersey in the near future.”

With the offseason departure of several of the league’s top scorers, Indiana selected three forwards within the first 16 picks of the draft.  Overall, the team made 13 selections which included ten forwards and three defensemen.

Indy selected forwards Tyler Pham and Dan Sherer with the third and 12th picks in the first round of the draft.  Pham, who has orally committed to Denver, played for the Colorado Thunderbirds last season and was one of the top playmakers in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.  Sherer played junior hockey last year for the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League, who made it to the Final Four of the Robertson Cup championship tournament.

Johnson is playing No. 2 singles this spring for the Hibbing-Chisholm tennis team.