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Gay University of Minnesota runner takes on challenge of cross country

LGBTQ College Roundup: Wyoming’s Scotia Mullin announces retirement from diving.

Minnesota redshirt freshman Dawson LaRance runs at the Oz Memorial in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Sept. 7, 2018.
University of Minnesota Athletics

MINNEAPOLIS — At 5 kilometers into his first college cross country race, Dawson LaRance faced the steep realization this wasn’t track and field anymore.

LaRance, who runs for the University of Minnesota, kept with the top runners early in the race during the season-opening Oz Memorial at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Sept. 7.

But at the 5-kilometer mark, he came upon a difficult hill, and he saw the leaders pull away.

“My legs were pretty dead at that point,” said LaRance, who is gay. “(After the hill,) it was hard to get going back into a finishing mode, turning over and getting the speed to finish strong because the hill took a lot out of me.”

Dawson LaRance competes for Minnesota at the Oz Memorial on Sept. 7, 2018, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Kraig A. Lungstrom

He finished 14th overall and seventh on the Gophers’ team, helping Minnesota win the four-team meet. LaRance finished the 4-mile (6.44-kilometer) race in 21 minutes, 18.5 seconds.

For his collegiate cross country debut, it was a success.

“My time was fairly decent and my coach was happy with how I did and my teammates are pretty excited with how I did,” LaRance said. “Because of my track background, they thought I might not do very well, but I actually ended up holding my own.”

Last year, LaRance enjoyed a successful indoor and outdoor track and field season as a freshman for Minnesota. He ran the 10th fastest indoor 800 in program history, helped the distance medley relay score points at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, and qualified for the NCAA postseason during outdoor season in the 800.

Dawson LaRance and members of the Minnesota men’s cross country team run at the Oz Memorial on Sept. 7, 2018, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
University of Minnesota Athletics

But after doing cross country throughout high school, he talked to his coaches about joining the Minnesota cross country team this year. After focusing on speed last year, they agreed adding more distance running could help him.

“I’m really happy that I’m doing it,” LaRance said. “I’ve become a lot more fit over the summer and this fall. It’s definitely a good choice for me.”

The 5-foot-11, 150-pound LaRance spent the summer training at home in Billings, Montana.

A week before returning to Minneapolis, he decided to get a permanent reminder of home. He got a tattoo on the side of his ribs with mountains and pine trees to represent the Montana landscape, and the tattoo incorporates his hometown’s 406 area code.

Dawson LaRance got a tattoo this summer as reminder of his home in Montana that depicts the scenery and includes his hometown’s area code.

“I think this summer was the last significant amount of time that I’ll be in Montana, at least in the near future,” LaRance said. “It was something I’d been thinking about for a while, and I thought it was a good thing to get before I left for school.”

LaRance’s next cross country meet is the 8-kilometer Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 29.

Being his first year of college cross country, LaRance sees his role as mostly to push guys in workouts than as a contributor to the varsity in postseason meets.

“I came into cross country focusing more as a training period,” LaRance said. “I’m definitely going to do my best and give it my best effort and train hard over this cross country season.”

Then it’s back to track and field, where he doesn’t have to worry about hills.

You can find Dawson LaRance on Facebook, and on Instagram @dawson_larance or on Twitter @DawsonLRun. He is also reaching via email at dawson.larance@yahoo.com.

Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBTQ. Results are for competitions that took place Sept. 4-16.

Division I

Xavier Colvin (redshirt junior, Butler football) made four tackles in Saturday’s 50-7 loss to Princeton. He made three tackles in a 31-17 win against Taylor on Sept. 8.

Scott Frantz (redshirt junior, Kansas State football) started at left tackle in both games as the Wildcats (2-1 overall) went 1-1 the last two weeks. Kansas State’s game at West Virginia on Sept. 22 is scheduled to be broadcast at 3:30 p.m. ET to ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

Johnny Kemps (senior, Boston men’s cross country) finished 12th in 26:35.3 during Friday’s season-opening 8-kilometer dual meet against Florida State. FSU won the meet 21-40.

Matt Kravitz (junior, Lehigh men’s cross country) finished second at Saturday’s dual meet against Lafayette to help Lehigh win 15-50. Kravitz completed the 8-kilometer race in 26:58.62.

Scotia Mullin (junior, Wyoming men’s diving) announced Sept. 5 on Facebook and Instagram that an injury is forcing him to retire from diving. He said he will complete his degree at Wyoming.

Ryan Signorino (senior, St. Bonaventure men’s cross country) finished Friday’s 7.6-kilometer Army West Point Open in 31:16.6.

Drew Davis (assistant coach, North Dakota State women’s volleyball) saw the Bison (2-9 overall) go 0-4 the last two weeks.

James Finley (head coach, Seattle women’s volleyball) led the Redhawks (7-5 overall) to a 4-2 record the last two weeks.

Shawn McLaughlin (assistant coach, Alabama-Birmingham women’s volleyball) saw the Blazers (8-6 overall) go 2-4 the last two weeks.

Chip Rogers (assistant coach, Miami Ohio women’s field hockey) watched the RedHawks (5-4 overall) go 2-2 the last two weeks. The most recent match saw Miami Ohio defeat No. 22-ranked Ohio State 2-1.

Jessica Smith (assistant coach, Kansas State women’s soccer) saw the Wildcats (4-3-2) go 1-2-1 the last two weeks.

Division II

Arman Bashiri (senior, Bloomfield men’s soccer) started both of the Bears’ matches the last two weeks and attempted a combined four shots in those two matches. Bloomfield lost both matches.

Noah Ratliff (senior, Mercyhurst men’s water polo) recorded an assist in the Lakers’ 16-10 win against CalTech on Sept. 8. Mercyhurst (7-3 overall) went 5-3 the last two weeks.

Jake Van Ittersum (junior, Northwood football) started at left guard in both games as the Timberwolves (0-3 overall) went 0-2 the last two weeks.

Tony Nicolosi (head coach, Cal State East Bay men’s & women’s cross country head coach) saw both teams finish second at the six-team Duyst Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 8.

Division III

Lindsey Farrell (senior, McDaniel women’s soccer) headed in a goal in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Ursinus. The Green Terror (4-1 overall) went 2-1 the last two weeks.

Ian Johnson (junior, Montclair State men’s soccer) started on defense in Montclair State’s 1-0 win against Rutgers-Camden on Saturday. The Red Hawks (6-1-1 overall) went 3-1 the last two weeks.

Sam Johnson (junior, Whittier men’s soccer) returned from injury to play two of three games as the Poets (3-3 overall) went 2-1 the last two weeks.

Harrison Knowlton (senior, Middlebury men’s cross country) opened the season with a fourth-place finish in 27:06.43 at the 8-kilometer Vermont Tech Invitational on Sept. 8. He followed that with a win in 26:29 during Saturday’s 8-kilometer Aldrich Invitational. Middlebury won both invites.

Tucker Meijer (senior, Amherst men’s cross country) finished sixth in the 6-kilometer Little 3 Championship on Sept. 8 in 20:00.2. He helped the Mammoths win their season opener.

Josh Moeckel (senior, Utica men’s cross country) finished 46th in 25:34.6 as Utica won the 6-kilometer Short Course Invitational on Sept. 8.

Wyatt Pertuset (junior, Capital football) caught three passes for 61 yards and punted four times for 140 yards in Saturday’s 44-40 loss to Heidelberg. He punted once for 37 yards in a 51-50 loss to Marietta on Sept. 8.

Taylor Reifert (senior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer) started two of four games as the Sagehens (3-4 overall) went 1-3 the last two weeks.

NAIA

Maria Berrum (senior, Robert Morris women’s soccer) is no longer listed on the team roster and has not played in a game this season. Robert Morris athletics did not respond to an inquiry about her status.

Eva Bower (sophomore, Milligan women’s soccer) made a combined eight saves in two matches as the Buffaloes (2-3-1 overall) went 1-1 the last two weeks.

NJCAA

Cliff Hastings (head coach, Parkland women’s volleyball) and Ryan Hoppe-Hastings (assistant coach, Parkland women’s volleyball) led the No. 4-ranked Cobras (25-1 overall) to a 10-1 record the last two weeks.

Erik Hall can be reached via email at hallerik7@gmail.com or on Twitter @HallErik or Facebook. If you are an out LGBTQ athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, please email Erik.