2006 Big Ten Cross Country Championships
Sunday, Oct. 29
IU Cross Country Course
Meet Schedule (Central Time)
9:45 a.m. Women’s Race 6K
10:30 a.m. Men’s Race 8K
11:15 a.m. Awards Presentation
Big Ten Championships
The Minnesota men’s cross country team kicks off the championship portion of its schedule traveling to the 2006 Big Ten Cross Country Championships, hosted by Indiana on Sunday, Oct. 29. The 92nd running of the Big Ten men’s race begins at 10:30 a.m. (CT, following the completion of the women’s race. The race is the final 8-kilometer event of the season, as the distance lengthens to 10-kilometers for NCAA competition.
Big Ten Honors
The top seven finishers will be awarded All-Big Ten First-Team honors. Runners placing eighth through 14th will receive second-team All-Big Ten accord.
Minnesota at the Big Ten Meet
Minnesota has won four Big Ten men’s cross country titles: 1909, 1914, 1964 and 1969. During head coach Steve Plasencia’s tenure, the Golden Gophers’ top finishes were third-place showings in 1999 and 2005. The Gophers have had three runners win Big Ten individual crowns a total of seven times. Fred Watson (1913-15) and Gary Bjorklund (1969-71) each captured three titles. Leonard Edeleen won the 1957 title.
Defending Big Ten Champions
Wisconsin is the seven-time defending champion. In fact, only Michigan’s titles in 1993, 1997 and 1998 interrupted the Badgers’ title dominance since 1985.
The Big Ten will crown a new men’s medalist after Wisconsin senior Simon Bairu won his third consecutive individual title a year ago.
Big Ten Championships History
Nine of the 10 schools, excluding only Penn State, that currently sponsor a men’s cross country program have won at least one Big Ten team title. Wisconsin owns the most with 39, followed by Michigan State with 14 and Indiana with 13. Following is a listing of team champions:
Wisconsin: 1910, 12, 13, 15, 24, 25, 26, 27, 39, 44, 45, 46c, 48, 49,
50, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92,
94, 95, 96, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05
Michigan State: 1951, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 68, 70, 71
Indiana: 1928, 29, 30, 31, 32, 39, 40, 42, 46x, 67, 72, 73, 80c
Michigan: 1922, 54, 74, 75, 76, 80c, 93, 97, 98
Minnesota: 1909, 14, 64, 69
Illinois: 1921, 47, 84
Purdue: 1916, 41, 43
Iowa: 1961, 66
Ohio State: 1923
The Golden Gopher Lineup
Nine Golden Gophers will compete at the Big Ten Championships. Following their name is a listing of any previous experience at the Big Ten Championships.
Rick Furseth (Jr., Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater/South Dakota State)
Justin Grunewald (Jr., Merrifield,Minn./Brainerd)
2005 - 44th, 25:45.23
2004 - 51st, 25:36
Yahya Iman (Fr., St. Cloud, Minn./St. Cloud Tech)
Ben Kampf (Fr., Farmington, Minn./Farmington)
Ben Puhl (So., Rochester/Century)
2005 - 53rd, 26:02.58
Chris Rombough (So., Fremont, Wis./New London)
2005 - 18th, 25:01.58
Mike Torchia (Fr., Rochester, Minn./Lourdes)
David VanOrsdel (Sr., Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins/Villanova)
2005 - 28th, 25:21.13
Antonio Vega (Sr., Oakdale, Minn./Tartan)
2005 - 13th, 24:44.38
2004 - 25th, 25:07
2003 - 23rd, 24:52.8
Antonio Vega is primed to leap up the leaderboard after capturing second-team All-Big Ten honors with a 13th-place finish in 2005. Ironically, Vega’s best performance this fall also notched a 13th-place showing, his finish in a talent-laden Griak Invitational field in late September. Joining Vega at the head of the pack throughout the season has been sophomore Chris Rombough. Rombough is coming off a second-place finish at the Jim Drews Invitational two weeks ago; a performance that earned him Big Ten Runner of the Week accolades. True freshman Mike Torchia will likely play an important part in any Gopher success as the rookie competes in his first conference championships. Torchia has been a consistent third or fourth finisher for the Gophers this season. Minnesota will look to veterans Justin Grunewald and David VanOrsdel, as well as South Dakota State transfer Rick Furseth to lend their experience to the younger charges as the Gophers head into the championship portion of the season. Redshirt freshman Ben Kampf, along with sophomore Ben Puhl, have been consistent scorers for the Gophers this fall. Completing the Gophers’ lineup for the Big Ten meet is true freshman Yahya Iman.
Minnesota Ranked No. 14 in National Poll
The Gophers slipped two spots to No. 14 in the Oct. 17 USTFCCCA Men’s Cross Country Coaches Poll. Minnesota was ranked No. 12 in the previous three polls. The No. 12 ranking was the highest of Steve Plasencia’s 11-year Minnesota coaching tenure. Minnesota is the second of four Big Ten schools ranked with Wisconsin at No. 1, Iowa at No. 17, and Michigan at No. 18.
The Gopher Coaching Staff
Golden Gopher head men’s cross country coach Steve Plasencia is in his 11th season directing the program at his alma mater. The Gophers have advanced to the NCAA Championships nine times in Plasencia’s tenure, finishing with eight top-25 finishes. Brad Wick is in his second season as the Gophers’ volunteer assistant coach.