Minnesota at the Big Ten Championships Where:
Yahara Hills Golf Course, Madison, Wisconsin When:
Sunday, October 29, 2000 (Men's race begins at 11:30 a.m.) Last Year's Results:
Minnesota placed third, its highest finish since 1981. Will McComb earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors with a 14th place finish. Minnesota heads to Madison, Wis., to compete in the 2000 Big Ten Championships this weekend. Head Coach Steve Plasencia's squad has not competed since the Pre-NCAA race on October 14, so they should be well- rested and ready to challenge for the team title. A Slow Start:
The Gophers did not perform as well as they would have liked in the early part of the season and have fallen out of the MONDO rankings after being ranked 12th in the preseason poll. It is no cause for concern, however, as the same trend occurred last season. The Gophers were disappointed in their finish at the 1999 Roy Griak Invitational and fell out of the rankings, but went on to a third place Big Ten finish, a District V Championship and a 15th place NCAA finish.
Season Recap: The Golden Gophers started the season sending a split squad to meets at St. John's and Minnesota-Duluth. The squad at the St. John's Invitational took third behind South Dakota State and St. John's. Junior Joe Corr (right) was the individual winner and Andrew McKessock came in eighth. The group at the Lester Park Invitational hosted by Minnesota-Duluth fared better as Minnesota had both the team and indvidual champion. The Golden Gophers won the meet with 18 points, and sophomores Luke Mullranin, Will McComb and Neil Hanson came in first, second and third, respectively. Three Gophers had new career highs; Luke Mullranin, 26:51.4; Brent Loberg, 27:46.4; Toby Henkels, 28:23.
Two weeks later, the Golden Gophers competed at their own Roy Griak Invitational against some of the nation's top teams. Minnesota came in 12th with a 353 team score. McComb was the top finisher with a new career best time of 25:04. Corr came in second at 45th and ran his best time since the 1998 Big Ten Championships. Mullranin, senior Jason Owen and freshmen Brent Loberg and Toby Henkels also recorded new career best times. Minnesota's final race before the Big Ten Championship was the Pre-NCAA race in Ames, Iowa. Minnesota was disappointed in their 25th place finish in the expanded race. Many more teams were entered in the race than in the past and the distance was moved from 8K to 10K. Corr came in first for Minnesota at 46th, while McComb came in second, with a career best 10K time, at 81st. Youth Is On Their Side:
Minnesota cross country is a young group. Seven of the nine running in the Big Ten race are either freshmen or sophomores. In addition, this season's top times have been recorded by junior Corr and sophomores McComb and Mullranin, who have also been Minnesota's top three place-winners in the big races. Career Bests:
Several Golden Gophers have set new personal-best times this season. Mullranin, Henkels and Loberg all set new career bests in an 8K race at their first race of the season. They improved those marks even more at the Roy Griak Invitational. McComb and senior Jason Owen also recorded new career bests and Joe Corr ran his best race since the 1998 Big Ten Championships at the Griak. McComb set a new career best in a 10K with his time of 32:16.1 at the Pre-NCAA meet.
In the Record Books: With his time of 25:04 at the Roy Griak Invitational, Will McComb (left) put himself in the Minnesota record books. He now owns the ninth-best time for an 8K race on a University of Minnesota course. Homegrown:
Most of the Golden Gophers are Minnesota natives. Only three harriers on the 2000 squad are from out-of-state. Joe Corr hails from Redmond, Washington while Will McComb and Andrew McKessock are both from Ontario, Canada. The Captains:
Senior Jason Owen and junior Joe Corr were elected co-captains for the 2000 season. Owen is the lone senior and very accomplished in the 800m on the track, as well as cross country. Corr has been a strong runner for Minnesota from the time he arrived on campus. His has finished in the top 15 at the Big Ten race the last two years and was the top freshman finisher in 1998.