Nov. 12, 2011
Hassan Mead won the 2011 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships this afternoon down at Northern Illinois University. The All-American covered the 10k course in 31:16.87 to finish first overall for the Gophers. The last time Mead ran at the Midwest Championships, in 2009, he won with a time of 30:31.9 down in Springfield, MO.
As a team the Gophers finished fourth overall with 128 team points. Tulsa took third with 119, Oklahoma State was second at 45 and Oklahoma was crowned team champions with 42 points.
Oklahoma State and Oklahoma automatically advance to next week’s NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Minnesota will have to sit and wait for an at-large bid to be selected in the field.
The Gophers will now have to wait and hope that they earn an at-large bid from the selection committee. Minnesota has a solid resume with strong finishes at the Roy Griak and Wisconsin adidas Invitational this season that should help out.
“It is up to the committee now, “said Head Coach Steve Plasencia. “ We are hopeful that we will get a bid.”
Mead was in eighth place at the 5k mark and was .57 seconds behind the leader. He kicked it into gear at the 7k mark and found himself in second place, behind Oklahoma’s Kevin Schwab by 1.18 seconds. Mead then took a 0.03 lead at the 8k mark ahead of Schwab and never looked back.
“Hassan was himself today,” said Plasencia. “He ran a very strong race today.”
Pieter Gagnon took 14th with a time of 31:37.79 and Andrew Larsen clocked in at 31:49.99 to finish 22nd. Marcus Paulson finished 45th with a time of 32:29.43 and Steve Sulkin was right behind him in 46th at 32:29.59. Erik Truedson finished in 62nd after clocking in at 32:53.85 and Travis Burkstrand ran a 34:09.52 to round out the Minnesota lineup.
The announcement of NCAA Championships field should be made before 6 p.m. CST tomorrow and gophersports.com will provide you with updates at that time.
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The Gophers totaled 464 points for the 10-kilometer course at E. P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.