Nov. 8, 2013
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. - University of Minnesota men's cross country sophomore Aaron Bartnik paced the field on Friday afternoon at the Fall Finale, taking the individual crown in his first official collegiate race while the Gophers placed three attached runners in the top five.
"I was very pleased with our performance today at the Fall Finale. We had a good group of guys running, they pushed each other hard and the performances showed that," Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia said. "It was great to see Aaron do well. He's been battling injuries for a while, and it was nice to see him put that behind him today with a nice win."
Bartnik clocked a 24:43 over the eight-kilometer course to win the individual crown by more than 20 seconds. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native was followed by redshirt freshmen Cole O'Brien and Troy Koivisto in fourth and fifth, respectively.
O'Brien turned in a time of 25:24 on Friday afternoon, setting a new personal record for an eight-kilometer course by the Burnsville, Minn., native and besting his previous mark of 26:29.4 set at the Roy Griak Invitational earlier this season.
Koivisto, meanwhile, posted his second career top-five finish at the Fall Finale with a fifth-place finish on Friday. The Cokato, Minn., native clocked a 25:30 this year after placing second last season with a time of 25:09.
The Gophers continue the 2013 campaign next weekend at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Minnesota - ranked sixth in the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coaches Poll - will head to Ames, Iowa to compete in the regional meet on Friday, Nov. 15.
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The Gophers totaled 464 points for the 10-kilometer course at E. P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.
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The St. Francis, Minn., native was a First Team All-Big Ten and All-Region honoree this year.