Golden Gopher Cross Country
NCAA Midwest Region Cross Country Championships
Host - Bradley U.
Saturday, Nov. 10
Men 11 a.m. (CT)
Women 12:15 p.m. (CT)
Newman Golf Course
Golden Gopher Watch List Nov. 10, 2007
Minnesota Compete in NCAA Midwest Region Championships - The Minnesota men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Peoria, Ill., on Saturday, Nov. 10 to compete in the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. The 10-kilometer men’s race begins at 11 a.m., followed by the 6-kilometer women’s race at 12:15 p.m.
Gophers Chase NCAA Championships Berths - The top two team finishers from the nine regional championships around the country earn automatic berths to the Nov. 19 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.
Gopher Women WIn First Big Ten Title - Minnesota captured the first Big Ten cross country title in school history. The Gophers won the crown without a single All-Big Ten First Team performer. Ladia Albertson-Junkans and Gabriele Anderson earned All-Big Ten Second Team acclaim with 10th- and 14th-place finishes, respectively.
Gary Wilson Named Big Ten Coach of the Year - Veteran head coach Gary Wilson was honored as the Big Ten Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year. Wilson is in his 23rd season with the Gophers.
Gopher Men Finish Second in Big Ten, Best Since 1970 - The Minnesota men enjoyed their finest outing at the Big Ten meet since 1970, finishing with runner-up honors. Hassan Mead, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, placed second, while Chris Rombough finished fourth. Both earned All-Big Ten First Team honors.
NCAA Midwest Region Championships
The Minnesota men’s cross country team travels to Peoria, Ill., on Saturday, Nov. 10, for the 2007 NCAA Midwest Region Cross Country Championships. Bradley U. will host the Championships on the Newman Golf Course. The men’s 10-kilometer race begins at 11 a.m.
Region Meet Determines NCAA Field
Thirty-one (31) teams will earn berths to the NCAA Championships, which will be run in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday, Nov. 19. The top two teams from each of the nine regions automatically qualify for the Championships. Another 13 at-large teams will be added to the field and announced on Monday, Nov. 12. In addition, four individual competitors from each region, who are not part of qualifying teams, will also earn their way into the Championships field. These individuals must finish in the top 25 at the regional championship to qualify. Additionally two individuals will be chosen at large by the NCAA committee.
If This Were Football, We’d Add a Fifth Quarter
For NCAA competition, both at the regional and national championships, the race distance is lengthened from 8 kilometers to 10 kilometers. That extra two kilometers makes the races 20 percent longer than the ones run during the regular season.
Minnesota at the Midwest Region Meet
Minnesota is a perennial force at the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. The Golden Gophers have won team titles in 1999, 2001 and 2004. In 2006, however, Minnesota struggled to a sixth-place finish, breaking a streak of nine consecutive NCAA Championships berths.
Often a Gopher Leads the Pack
Gophers have captured medalist honors in three of the last five NCAA Midwest Region Championships. Andrew Carlson won the title in 2002 and 2004, followed by Antonio Vega in 2005. Chris Rombough ran to runner-up honors in 2006. All three went on to earn All-America honors in the seasons they posted top Midwest Region finishes.
Midwest Region Championship Preview
The majority of the Big Ten, including Big Ten champion Wisconsin, compete in the Great Lakes Region, so the Golden Gophers will face several of the best teams from the Big 12 Conference instead. Oklahoma State is the top ranked team in the Midwest Region at No. 12. Minnesota (No. 15) and Tulsa (No. 18) are the only other ranked teams in the field.
The Golden Gopher Lineup
Seven Golden Gophers will compete at the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. A team’s final lineup does not have to be declared until the day of the competition. Following is a list of possible participants and a listing of any previous experience at the regional meet.
Rick Furseth (Sr., Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater/South Dakota State)
2006 - 46th, 32:12.79
Justin Grunewald (Sr., Merrifield,Minn./Brainerd)
2004 - 45th: 31:45.46
2005 - 30th: 32:01
2006 - 52nd, 32:25.45
Ben Kampf (So., Farmington, Minn./Farmington)
Mike McFarland (R-Fr., Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead)
Hassan Mead (Fr., Minneapolis, Minn./Minneapolis South)
Ben Puhl (Jr., Rochester, Minn./Century)
2006 - 38th, 32:03.54
Chris Rombough (Jr., Fremont, Wis./New London)
2005 - 13th, 31:22
2006 - 2nd, 30:47.19
Forrest Tahdooahnippah (Gr., St. Paul, Minn./Minneapolis Southwest/Stanford)
Golden Gophers Ranked No. 15
The Gopher men jumped up seven spots to No. 15 in Oct. 30 USTFCCCA National Poll. Minnesota is one of four Big Ten Conference teams listed in the rankings with Wisconsin at No. 4, Michigan at No. 23 and Ohio State at No. 30.
Big Ten Announces Honors, Mead Named Freshman of the Year
Golden Gopher harrier Hassan Mead has been named the 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, the Big Ten Office announced. Mead placed second at the Big Ten Championships.
Mead is the second Minnesota cross country runner to earn the Big Ten’s rookie award, joining Will McComb who captured the honor in 1999.
The Big Ten also announced its All-Big Ten teams based on individual finishes at the conference meet. Mead and Gopher junior Chris Rombough, who finished fourth overall, were accorded All-Big Ten First Team honors. Senior Forrest Tahdooahnippah was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team after placing 12th in the Championships.
The Gophers’ redshirt freshman Mike McFarland was named as Minnesota’s recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes, one honored from each school, are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The student-athlete must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside the sports-competition setting.
Wisconsin’s Matt Withrow was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year, while Badger coach Jerry Schmacher was tabbed the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Hassan Mead, Golden Gophers Finish Second in Big Ten Championships
Freshman Hassan Mead finished second and junior Chris Rombough fourth, as the Minnesota men’s cross country team placed second at the Big Ten Men’s Cross Country Championships in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 28. Both Mead and Rombough were accorded All-Big Ten First Team honors for their performances.
The Golden Gophers’ runner-up finish was the best since 1970, a span which had included several third-place showings.
Mead, a Minneapolis native, led much of the 8-kilometer race contested at The Ohio State University Golf Course. Wisconsin junior Matt Withrow was able to overtake Mead down the stretch to capture the individual crown in a time of 23 minutes, 44.37 seconds. Mead was clocked at 23:47.70. Rombough posted a time of 23:54.48.
“Hassan ran a great race, especially considering he’s just a freshman,” said Minnesota head coach Steve Plasencia. “This is such a tough conference with a number of talented runners. He has a great future ahead of him.”
Forrest Tahdooahnippah added a 12th-place showing (24:11.94) to earn All-Big Ten Second Team accord.
Wisconsin extended its Big Ten winning streak to 10, adding the 2007 team title by gathering 33 points. The Gophers tallied solid 65 points for second, while Ohio State was third with a distant 91 points.
Plasencia was pleased with his team’s performance but took a moment to recognize senior Justin Grunewald for his unselfish contribution to the team. Grunewald was expected to redshirt the season as he prepared for medical school exams. The Gophers, however, needed Grunewald to jump into action when sophomore Mike Torchia was sidelined with an injury.
Grunewald, running his first meet of the season, posted a very important 17th-place finish in a time of 24:16.56. His time was a career best over an 8-kilometer course by 31 seconds.
“Justin is a great team player,” said Plasencia. “We needed him and he answered the call. It was very unselfish of him. He was training hard all season, so I knew he was ready.”
Ben Puhl completed the scoring for the Gophers as their fifth finisher, placing 32nd in a time of 24:45.44. Other Gopher finishers were Mike McFarland in 33rd (24:48.40), Ben Kampf in 38th (24:56.86), Rick Furseth in 39th (24:59.05), and Matt Barrett in 45th (25:03.90).
Rombough Breaks 23-Year Old School Record
Golden Gopher junior All-American Chris Rombough smashed the longstanding school record for the fastest time on an 8-kilometer course placing 15th with a time of 23 minutes, 39.7 seconds at the Pre-NCAA Meet in Terre Haute, Ind. on Oct. 13. Minnesota defeated three teams ranked higher in the national polls in finishing seventh in the Pre-NCAA Meet White Race.
The previous Minnesota record on an 8K course was held by former Gopher great Dave Morrison for 23 years. Morrison’s record was 23:50.4 clocked at the Wisconsin Duals on Sept. 29, 1984.
Mead posted a 20th-place finish crossing the finish line in a time of 23:45.0. Completing the scoring for the Gophers were Forrest Tahdooahnippah in 44th place in 24:01.3, Ben Puhl in 94th in 24:25.8 and Mike McFarland in 116th in 24:38.7.
Minnesota Coaching Staff
Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia is in his 12th season leading the Minnesota program. Plasencia as guided the Gophers to NCAA Championships berths in nine of his 11 years with his alma mater. Volunteer assistant coach Brad Wick is in his third year with the Gophers.