Oct. 14, 2011
Senior All-American Hassan Mead ran to a fifth place finish at the 2011 Wisconsin adidas Invitational Championship Race this afternoon. Mead covered the 8k Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course in 23:31, to help his No. 17 Gophers finish seventh overall, with 309 team points. The field featured 21 of the top 30 ranked teams in the country. This race was new to the Gopher schedule this year, as in years past they would compete at the Pre-NCAA Meet.
Mead, was the highest Big Ten finisher in the championship race, on a very windy afternoon in Madison, Wis. The Gophers had three other runners finish in the top 80. Junior Pieter Gagnon and sophomore Andrew Larson stuck with each other until the end. Gagnon took 51st and Larson was 52nd, as both Gophers clocked in at 24:32. Redshirt Freshman Marcus Paulson clocked in at 24:41 which was good for 75th overall. Sophomore Erik Truedson crossed the line in 126th, with a time of 34:59 to round out the top five Gopher finishers. Junior Travis Burkstrand (224th 25:58) and senior Bob Nicolls (247 26:30) were the last two Maroon and Gold runners in the Championship Race.
Head Coach Steve Plasencia was proud of his team after today's performance, but it is still just the midway point in the season.
"I thought our guys did really well today," Plasencia said. "We beat some teams that were ranked ahead of us and that should help us in the rankings. It was a good test for us at the midway point of the season."
Minnesota, who is ranked No. 17 in the latest USTFCCA Poll, defeated four teams that were ranked higher than them. Those teams included No. 9 North Carolina State (11th 372 team points), No. 10 Oregon (14th 448 team points) No. 13 Northern Arizona (8th 332 team points) and No. 16 Georgetown (24thb609 team points). The Gophers were the third highest Big Ten team overall, with No. 2 Wisconsin winning the race with 66 team points and No. 7 Indiana finished in fifth, with 271 team points.
Four members of the Maroon and Gold squad competed in the "B" race, where no team score was kept. Senior Paul Hilsen and sophomore Steve Sulkin led the Gophers, after they each posted a time of 25:22. Senior Sean Olson completed the 8k course in 25:38, while Matt Volz clocked in at 26:28.
Griak Feature: Martin Smith
Martin Smith is one of eight Roy Griak Invitational Hall of Fame inductees who will be honored at this year's meet.
Blankenship, Mead Shine in Olympic Finals
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Blankenship Punches Ticket to Olympic Final
Ben Blankenship (1,500) and Hassan Mead (5,000) will run in Olympic finals on Saturday night.