Sophomore Hassan Mead ran the fastest 8-kilometer time in Minnesota history to place third overall and pace the No. 14 Golden Gophers to a fifth-place finish in the Pre-NCAA Meet Blue Race, Saturday, in Terre Haute, Ind. Mead clocked a time of 23 minutes, 33.1 seconds to break teammate Chris Rombough’s mark of 23:39.7, set at the same meet in 2007.
Minnesota placed fifth as a team with 234 points, performing well on the course that will host the NCAA Championships in November. No. 6 Alabama won the Blue Race title with 89 points, followed by No. 16 Northern Arizona with 123, No. 9 Michigan with 146 and No. 13 Florida State in fourth with 212 points. No. 10 Stanford won the team crown in the White Race with 77 points.
“Hassan did a great job of working his way up through the field,” said Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia. “Hassan was probably 50th at the mile mark but found David (Alabama’s Tyson David) and was able to go with him to create a bit of distance from the rest of the field. McNeill (Northern Arizona’s David McNeill) caught them down the last stretch. It was a very close finish.”
David won the individual title by just six-tenths of a second (23:30.1) over McNeill (23:30.7).
Rombough added an eighth-place finish for the Gophers, running a time of 23:47.3. The Gophers’ scoring was completed by Mike Torchia in 67th-place in a time of 24:38.3, Sean Olson in 72nd in 24:41.2 and Ben Blankenship in 84th in 24:47.8. Also competing were Ben Kampf, who finished 118th (25:04.7) and Mike McFarland, who placed 125th (25:06.8).
“We did a good job today with Hassan’s high finish and Chris having a nice day,” added Plasencia. “Sean also ran particularly well. Overall as a team, we took a step forward, which is important at a meet like this at this time of the season.”
The Gophers were also represented by four runners at the Jim Drews Invitational in West Salem, Wis. Ben Puhl led the charge with a sixth-place finish in a time of 25:06.6.
Minnesota’s next meet is Nov. 2, when the Gophers travel to Michigan for the Big Ten Championships.