The Minnesota men's cross country team begins the championship portion of its schedule by traveling to the 2003 Big Ten Men's Cross Country Championships, hosted by Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., on Sunday, Nov. 2. The 89th running of the Big Ten men's race begins at 10:30 a.m. (11:30 a.m. Eastern). The race is the final 8-kilometer event of the season, as the distance lengthens to 10-kilometers for NCAA competition.
Running For the 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 finish was a third-place showing in 1999. Last season, Minnesota placed fifth.
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 capture three titles. Leonard Edeleen won the 1957 title.
The Defending Champions
Wisconsin is the four-time defending champion. In fact, only Michigan's titles in 1993, 1997 and 1998 interrupted the Badgers' title dominance since 1985.
Wisconsin junior Matt Tegenkamp is the defending medalist in the men's race. Champions have captured back-to-back titles 26 times in Big Ten history.
The Golden Gophers
The competition at the Big Ten Championships will be fierce. Six teams, including Minnesota who received votes, are mentioned in the national poll. The Big Ten is the only conference with three teams in the top 10 with Wisconsin ranked No. 2, Michigan ranked No. 6 and Ohio State ranked No. 7. The Golden Gophers will need big races from all its entrants to improve on their fifth-place showing from a year ago. Junior Erik Grumstrup has raced at the Gophers' top position all season and will be counted on to lead the Minnesota pack. Three Gophers will be running in their first Big Ten meet, while another three have run at the conference meet once. Grumstrup, Michael Bialick and Ryan Ford have the most experience coming in as each has competed in two previous Big Ten Championships.
Carlson Still Out of Action
Senior All-American and team captain Andrew Carlson remains on the sidelines with a hip injury. His return is indefinite.
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 36, 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 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 Northwestern: 1965 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.
Michael Bialick (Jr., Wayzata, Minn./Hopkins)
2002 - 49th, 25:20.3
2001 - 68th, 25:43.9
Josh DoBell (Jr., Mankato, Minn./Mankato East)
Ryan Ford (Jr., St. Cloud, Minn./Apollo)
2002 - 38th, 25:08.3
2001 - 69th, 25:48.8
Erik Grumstrup (Jr., Black Hawk, S.D./Stevens)
2002 - 58th, 25:33.7
2001 - 23rd, 24:35.8
Ryan Malmin (So., Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins)
2002 - 16th, 24:42.5
Luke Mullranin (Sr., Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji)
2000 - 45th, 25:34
Martin Robeck (Jr., St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville)
2001 - 54th, 25:22.6
Michael VanBeusekom (Fr., New Brighton, Minn./Irondale)
Antonio Vega (Fr., Oakdale, Minn./Tartan)