Minnesota Heads to Ames for NCAA Regional

Go Gophers! Steve Plasencia has led the Gophers to three NCAA regional titles and 14 NCAA championship appearances.
Go Gophers!
Steve Plasencia has led the Gophers to three NCAA regional titles and 14 NCAA championship appearances.
Go Gophers!

Nov. 14, 2013

NCAA Midwest Regional
Date Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
Location Iowa State Cross Country Course, Ames, Iowa
Course 10K
Time Men's 10K: Noon | Women's 6K: 1:15 p.m.
Event Info NCAA Midwest Regional
Notes Minnesota Notes

The University of Minnesota men’s cross country team returns to NCAA action this Friday with the 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional, hosted by Iowa State at the ISU Cross Country Course in Ames, Iowa. Friday’s action begins at 12:00 p.m. CT with the men’s 10-kilometer race followed by the women’s race -- a six-kilometer course -- at 1:15 p.m.

About the Midwest Regional

Iowa State University is hosting the 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional for the first time since 1997. Teams from 13 conferences, including the Atlantic 10, Big 12, Big East, Big Sky, Big Ten, Conference USA, Horizon League, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, Summit League, SEC and WAC, spanning across nine different states (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota), will be racing in Ames, Iowa, this Friday.

The teams racing at the NCAA Midwest Regional are: Bradley, Chicago State, Creighton, DePaul, Drake, Eastern Illinois, Illinois, Illinois Chicago, Illinois State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Loyola-Chicago, Minnesota, Missouri, Missouri State, Nebraska, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Omaha, Oral Roberts, Saint Louis, SIUE, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, Tulsa, UMKC, Western Illinois and Wichita State.

The top two teams and top four individuals not on an advancing team move on to the 2013 NCAA Championships, held in Terra Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23.

2012 NCAA Midwest Regional Recap

The University of Minnesota men’s cross country team posted a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional in 2012 with Derek Storkel’s 36th-place finish pacing the Gophers. Minnesota combined for a score of 221. No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 8 Oklahoma – the two highest ranked teams in action at the regional – tied for the team championship with 45 points each. No. 19 Tulsa finished third with 47 points and featured individual winner Chris O’Hare, who paced the race with a time of 30:25.87.

Each of the five Gophers that contributed to Minnesota’s team score crossed the finish line of the 10-kilometer course within 25 seconds of each other in another consistent effort by the squad. Storkel paced Minnesota, crossing the finish line at 31:14.33, followed seconds later by John Simons in 41st with a time of 31:17.43. Andrew Larsen just edged teammate and Adam Zutz for 45th in the race. Larsen posted a time of 31:28.24 while Zutz came in one spot back of his teammate in 46th at 31:28.76. Pieter Gagnon closed out the Gophers scoring contingency in 53rd place with a time of 31:38.42.

Last Time Out -- Bartnik Wins Fall Finale

University of Minnesota men's cross country sophomore Aaron Bartnik paced the field last Friday at the Fall Finale, taking the individual crown in his first official collegiate race while the Gophers placed three attached runners in the top five. Bartnik clocked a 24:43 over the eight-kilometer course to win the individual crown by more than 20 seconds.

The Eden Prairie, Minn., native was followed by redshirt freshmen Cole O'Brien and Troy Koivisto in fourth and fifth, respectively. O'Brien turned in a time of 25:24 on Friday afternoon, setting a new personal record for an eight-kilometer course by the Burnsville, Minn., native and besting his previous mark of 26:29.4 set at the Roy Griak Invitational earlier this season. Koivisto, meanwhile, posted his second career top-five finish at the Fall Finale with a fifth-place finish on Friday. The Cokato, Minn., native clocked a 25:30 this year after placing second last season with a time of 25:09.

Familiar Faces

The Gophers feature eight runners that have competed at the NCAA Midwest Regional previously including senior captain Andrew Larsen, who is making his fourth and final appearance at the meet. Larsen, who ran the regional in 2010-12, has the top overall finish among active Gophers -- finishing 22nd in 2011. The Gophers also bring experience to the meet in Bob Nicolls (2011), Marcus Paulson (2012), John Simons (2012), Derek Storkel (2009, 2012), Steve Sulkin (2011), Josh Thorson (2012) and Adam Zutz (2012). 

Honoring Roy Griak

The 2013 Minnesota men's cross country season marks the 50th year of service to the University of Minnesota by legendary coach Roy Griak. Griak served as the head coach of the Minnesota men's cross country team from 1963-1996 and led the Gophers to three Big Ten titles. Griak has remained on staff as an administrative assistant since handing over the reigns of the program to current Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia. Minnesota honors its long-time coach each Fall with the Roy Griak Invitational -- the 28th running of the Griak was ran on Sept. 28.

Success Under Plasencia

Now in his 18th season at the helm of the Minnesota men's cross country program, Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia has continued to guide the Gophers program to successful season after successful season. During his 17-year tenure, the Gophers have earned 14 NCAA Championship bids as well as three NCAA regional titles. Plasencia has also coached the Gophers to a total of 12 All-America honors, 28 All-Big Ten honors and 85 Academic All-Big Ten accolades. A two-time All-American for the Gophers, Plasencia still holds the school record for a 10-kilometer race.