BOCA RATON, Fla. (GopherSports.com) –Nick Rink, a freshman for the University of Minnesota men’s cross country and track & field program, finished eighth at the 2017 NACAC Cross Country Championships to help the U.S. Under-20 Men’s Team win a gold medal on Saturday morning.
A native of Appleton, Wis., Rink covered the 6,500-meter course at South County Regional Park in 19:30.09 to finish eighth overall and fourth among U.S. competitors. The United States totaled 25 points in the team victory, besting Mexico with 31, Canada with 42 and Puerto Rico with 49.
Rink’s win with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s Team kicked off a busy month of international competition for the Maroon & Gold as Minnesota Director of Men’s Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia will serve as the head coach of the U.S. junior men’s team for the upcoming IAAF World Cross Country Championships on Sunday, March 26 in Kampala, Uganda. Gophers freshman Hamza Ali will join Plasencia in Uganda as a competitor for the U.S. squad.
The last year has seen an impressive amount of international competition from runners with ties to the Gophers. Minnesota alums Hassan Mead and Ben Blankenship both made their Olympic debuts at the 2016 Games in Rio with Mead finishing 11th in the 5,000 meters and Blankenship finishing eighth in the 1,500 meters.
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Gopher freshman Hunter Lucas finished 22nd at the 2018 NACAC Cross Country Championships in La Libertad, El Salvador.
Lucas Reps 'U' in El Salvador
2/18/2018 - M. Cross Country
A native of Fargo, N.D., Lucas finished 22nd on Saturday, covering the course in 27:08.0.
'U' Programs Earn USTFCCCA Academic Honors
2/9/2018 - M. Cross Country
Both programs were among the best in the Big Ten with the women pacing the conference and the men ranking second.