While she was at the University, Dorniden was the only Gopher who competed in every NCAA Championship in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. In 2006, she was the Indoor NCAA Champion in the 800 meters becoming the first national women's champion in school history. During her senior year, she was the Big Ten Champion in the indoor mile and the 600 meters. In addition to her All-America honors on the track, she was a three-time All-NCAA Midwest Region performer in cross country.
The highest decorated Gopher women's track athlete holds school records in nine events: 800 meters indoor and outdoor, 400 meters indoor, 600 meters indoor, the 4x400-meter relay indoor, indoor and outdoor distance medley relays, the outdoor 4x800m relay and the outdoor 4x1600m relay.
Dorniden was a semifinalist in the 800 meters at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and last summer was a semifinalist in the 800 meters at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships. She has a best in the distance of 2:01.05. In the 1500 meters she has posted 4:17.68 and in the mile she has run 4:38.80.
"Heather is a great competitor," said Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker. "Minnesota track fans have enjoyed watching and supporting herthroughout high school and college. I'm looking forward to working with her. She has a good range of speed, strength and endurance and will be a great addition to our group."
Her first major competition as a professional athlete will be at the USA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque on Feb. 27-28, where she will run either the 800 meters or the mile.
Dorniden is from Inver Grove Heights, a Twin Cities suburb, and is a graduate of Rosemount High School. During her prep career she claimed the Minnesota Class AA state title in the 800 meters in 2005 and in the 400 meters in 2004, and was a five-time all-state performer. She also competed at the Minnesota state cross country meet three times placing as high as 15th.
About Team USA Minnesota
Team USA Minnesota is based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Formed in 2001, the purpose of the training center is to improve post-collegiate American distance running and to develop Olympians. The athletes are coached by Dennis Barker, head cross country and track coach at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Team USA Minnesota's major sponsor is Life Time Fitness (www.lifetimefitness.com) and its silver sponsor is Twin Cities in Motion (www.mtcmarathon.org). It is also supported by the New York Road Runners and the USA Distance Project. For more information, visit the web site at www.teamusaminnesota.org.