Gophers Split Up for Pair of Wisconsin Meets
Oct. 17, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS -- The No. 22 University of Minnesota men's cross country team returns to action this weekend with a pair of meets in the state of Wisconsin on Saturday. The Gophers will send a contingency of runners to the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison while another group will head to West Salem to compete in the Jim Drews Invitational.
Wisconsin adidas Invitational Preview
For the third-straight meet, Minnesota will be running against some of the best teams in the nation -- 36 men's programs are scheduled to compete this Saturday in Madison.
Twenty-four teams in the race are nationally ranked or receiving votes in the national poll including No. 3 Northern Arizona, No. 5 BYU, No. 6 Arkansas, No. 7 Portland and No. 8 Columbia.
The Wisconsin adidas Invitational -- now in its fifth year of existence -- will again give the Gophers a chance to improve its national standing.
Gophers expected to compete this weekend in Madison: Aaron Bartnik, Alex Brend, Blayne Dulian, Andrew Larsen, Riley Macon, Bob Nicolls, Cole O'Brien, Marcus Paulson, John Simons, Christian Skaret, Derek Storkel, Steve Sulkin and Adam Zutz.
Last Time Out
Among some of the top competition in the nation, the Gophers posted an impressive team performance earlier this month at the Notre Dame Invitational -- finishing fourth with 155 points behind then-No. 30 Columbia (113), No. 7 Tulsa (124) and No. 9 Princeton (147) in first, second and third, respectively.
Among the field of competitors behind the Gophers were nationally ranked teams including No. 16 Colorado State, No. 21 New Mexico, No. 22 Notre Dame, No. 24 Virginia and No. 26 Florida State.
Jon Simons led the way for the Gophers with his second-straight top-ten finish, placing fourth overall with a time of 24:31.7. Not far behind, a trio of Gophers finished in the mid-30s of the individual race to further boost Minnesota’s team score. Adam Zutz finished 34th with a time of 25:03.8 withAndrew Larsen and Steve Sulkin coming in 36th and 37th, respectively. Larsen posted a time of 25:05.0 while Sulkin came in at 25:06.4. Gophers’ junior Blayne Dulian rounded out the scoring contingency in 44th place with a time of 25:11.7.
Gophers Ranked Nationally
After a strong showing at the Notre Dame Invitational earler this month, the Gophers find themselves ranked nationally for the first time this season -- sittting in 22nd among Division I programs in the newest USTFCCCA Men's Cross Country National Coaches' Poll.
Minnesota ranks third among all Big Ten schools in the poll -- only No. 12 Indiana and No. 20 Wisconsin rank above the program. The Gophers are also ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA's Midwest Region.
Honoring Roy Griak
The 2013 Minnesota men's cross country season marks the 50th year of service to the University of Minnesota by legendary coach Roy Griak. Griak served as the head coach of the Minnesota men's cross country team from 1963-1996 and led the Gophers to three Big Ten titles. Griak has remained on staff as an administrative assistant since handing over the reigns of the program to current Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia. Minnesota honors its long-time coach each Fall with the Roy Griak Invitational -- the 28th running of the Griak was ran on Sept. 28.
Success Under Plasencia
Now in his 18th season at the helm of the Minnesota men's cross country program, Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia has continued to guide the Gophers program to successful season after successful season. During his 17-year tenure, the Gophers have earned 14 NCAA Championship bids as well as three NCAA regional titles. Plasencia has also coached the Gophers to a total of 12 All-America honors, 28 All-Big Ten honors and 85 Academic All-Big Ten accolades. A two-time All-American for the Gophers, Plasencia still holds the school record for a 10-kilometer race.