Harriers Set for NCAA Championships Monday The Minnesota men's cross country team will make its 12 NCAA Championships appearance in 14 years on Monday.
Golden Gopher Cross Country This Week:
2009 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships
Monday, Nov. 23 Men — 11:08 a.m. (CT) Women — 11:58 a.m. (CT) LaVern Gibson Championship Course Terre Haute, Ind. Indiana State U. - Host
TV - Live - Versus TV Network Webcast - NCAA.com Golden Gopher Watch List — Nov. 23, 2009 • Golden Gopher Travel to NCAA Championships - The Minnesota men’s and women’s cross country teams both earned berths into the fields of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships. Indiana State U. plays host to the Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The men’s 10-kilometer race begins at 11:08 a.m. (CT), followed by the women’s 6-kilometer race at 11:58 a.m. (CT). • Golden Gopher Women Consistent - The Minnesota women’s cross country team is coming off their third consecutive title at the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. The Golden Gophers are among an elite trio of teams to place in the top 12 in the NCAAs in each of the last four seasons. • Mead Paces Golden Gopher Men - The Minnesota men’s cross country team will be led by junior Hassan Mead, who has the chance to become the second three-time All-American in Golden Gopher history. Mead defended both his Big Ten and NCAA Midwest Region titles this season. • NCAA Meet Televised - The Versus Network will broadcast the NCAA Cross Country Championships live. NCAA.com will carry a live webcast of the national meet.
NCAA Championships Next For Gophers The Minnesota men’s cross country team will make its 12th appearance in 13 seasons at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, held Monday, Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind. Indiana State plays host to the meet at the LaVern Gibson Championships Course. The men’s 10-kilometer race begins at 11:08 a.m. (CT).
Watch It Live The NCAA Cross Country Championships will be broadcast live on Versus TV Network and streamed online via NCAA.com. Check out Flotrack.com for additional coverage and interviews from the national meet.
The NCAA Field Thirty-one (31) teams will compete in the NCAA Championships, 18 of them having earned automatic berths in the NCAA field by placing in the top two of last weekend’s region championships. The NCAA field is completed by 13 at-large teams, including Minnesota, and 38 individual student-athletes who advanced with top regional finishes. Four Big Ten Teams Advance to NCAA Field Four Big Ten Conference teams will compete at the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row. Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin made the national meet this season.
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.
NCAA Championships Men’s Preview Oregon is the two-time defending team champion, but it has been Pac-10 rival Stanford who has held the top ranking for much of the season. Other team’s expected to contend are Oklahoma State and Alabama. Oregon’s, the Galen Rupp, the 2008 individual champion, has graduated.
Minnesota at the NCAA Championships Minnesota will make its 21st appearance in the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The Gophers have competed in 12 of the last 13 Championships, missing out only in 2006. The best finish for the Gophers was a fourth-place showing in 1968. More recently, the Gophers notched an eighth-place showing in 2007. Minnesota owns 15 top-20 finishes in the NCAA meet.
Gophers at the 2008 NCAA Championships Minnesota finished 15th overall in the 2008 NCAA Championships. Chris Rombough and Hassan Mead once again earned All-America honors. Rombough became the first three-time cross country All-American in Minnesota history. Mead earned his second national award of his career. Golden Gophers Ranked No. 29th The Gopher men enter the national meet ranked No. 29 (tied with Texas) in the USTFCCCA National Poll. Minnesota is one of three Big Ten Conference teams listed in the rankings with Wisconsin at No. 10 and Michigan State at No. 28. The Golden Gopher Lineup Seven Golden Gophers will compete at the NCAA Championships. A team’s final lineup does not have to be declared until the day of the competition. Following is a list of the Gophers’ lineup and a listing of any previous experience at the national meet. Matt Barrett (Sr., Monroe, Wis./Monroe HS) 2008 – 160th, 31:23.6 Ben Blankenship (Jr., Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater HS/Mississippi State) 2008 – 100th, 30:55.1 Pieter Gagnon (R-Fr., Minneapolis, Minn./Washburn HS) Paul Hilsen (R-Fr., Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South HS) Mike McFarland (Jr., Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead HS) 2007 – 161st, 31:36.5 2008 – 171st, 31:27.0 Hassan Mead (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn./Minneapolis South HS) 2007 – 43rd, 30:37.6 (All-American) 2008 – 31st, 30:06.2 (All-American) Sean Olson (So., Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie HS) Derek Storkel (Fr., Tomah, Wis./Tomah HS) Minnesota Coaching Staff Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia is in his 14th season leading the Minnesota program. Plasencia has guided the Gophers to NCAA Championships berths in 12 of his 14 years with his alma mater with the 2007 eighth-place NCAA finish the Gophers’ best since 1969. Volunteer assistant coach Jason Rengo is in his first year with the Gophers. Hassan Mead Honored as the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Runner of the Year Junior Hassan Mead was named the 2008 USTFCCCA Midwest Region Runner of the Year for the second consecutive season after defending his individual titles at both the Big Ten Conference Championships and NCAA Midwest Region Championships in the past month. Mead Continues to Build on Impressive Minnesota Resume Junior Hassan Mead continues to build on a Minnesota running resume that already has him ranked among the very best to ever compete for the Maroon and Gold. Mead is a two-time Big Ten and NCAA Midwest Region cross country medalist. He is also a three-time track All-American. Mead has already won five individual Big Ten track titles, winning the outdoor 5,000 meters in both his first two season with the Golden Gophers. Storkel a Team Player True freshman Derek Storkel lifted the redshirt title from his season when his team called upon the rookie hoping to bring a solid fifth scorer into the lineup. Storkel ran well in his first collegiate action, placing 44th in the Big Ten Championships, helping the Gophers secure a third-place team finish. He was the Gophers’ sixth finisher (66th overall) at the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. Mead Defends Region Crown Hassan Mead cruised to his second consecutive NCAA Midwest Region Championships title on Saturday in Springfield, Mo., crossing the finish line 28 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. Minnesota finished fourth as a team and will have to wait until Monday to see if the Golden Gophers’ season of work warrants an at-large berth in the NCAA Championships. Mead is the first back-to-back regional champion in Gopher history (Andrew Carlson won in 2002 and again in 2004). The Minneapolis native covered the 10-kilometer Missouri State University course in a time of 30 minutes, 21.9 seconds. Mead and Iowa State’s Guor Marial took the lead early and quickly distanced themselves from the pack. Mead made a second push around the 4-kilometer mark and soon found himself alone at the front. The Gophers’ standout had built such a big lead that he was able to even ease up a bit in the final kilometer, important since the national championship race is just nine days away. Southern Illinois senior Jeff Schirmer was second in 30:49.9. “Hassan really was the class of the field out there today,” said Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia. “We went in with a plan today and Hassan executed it perfectly.” Senior Matt Barrett picked up his second career all-region honor by placing 15th overall, second for the Gophers, in a time of 31:05.0. Oklahoma State, ranked third in the nation, captured the Midwest Region title with a team score of 50 points and collected one of the region’s automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. Oklahoma earned the second automatic bid by placing second with 71 points. Iowa State finished third with 104 points ahead of the Gophers’ tally of 125. The Gophers were unable to close the gap between their top two finishers (Mead and Barrett) and the remainder of their scoring runners. Ben Blankenship finished 28th in a time of 31:48.3, followed by Pieter Gagnon in 38th (32:02.8) and Mike McFarland in 51st (32:32.9). Other Gophers competing were Derek Storkel (66th, 33:01.7) and Paul Hilsen (117th, 34:27.7). Gagnon, Storkel and Hilsen ran their first NCAA 10-kilometer races of their collegiate careers.
2009 NCAA Midwest Region Cross Country Championships Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 Missouri State Cross Country Course – 10K Springfield, Mo.
Team Results 1. Oklahoma State 8-9-10-11-12-(13)-(15) 50 2. Oklahoma 3-4-17-20-27-(35)-(37) 71 3. Iowa State 5-6-28-30-40-(65)-(96) 106 4. Minnesota 1-14-26-36-48-(63)-(112) 125 5. Southern Illinois 2-25-29-31-73-(118) 160 * 25 teams competed
Top Individuals 1. Hassan Mead (MInnesota) 30:31.9 2. Jeff Schirmer (Southern Illinois) 30:49.9 3. Kevin Schwab (Oklahoma) 30:52.0 4. Robert Sorrell (Oklahoma) 30:53.4 5. Hillary Bor (Iowa State) 30:55.6 6. Guor Marial (Iowa State) 30:56.4 7. Jonah Lagat (Oral Roberts) 30:58.5 8. John Beattie (Tulsa) 31:00.4 9. David Chirchir (Oklahoma State) 31:03.0 10. John Kosgei (Oklahoma State) 31:03.2
Other Golden Gopher Finishes 15. (14) Matt Barrett 31:05.0 28. (26) Ben Blankenship 31:48.3 38. (36) Pieter Gagnon 32:02.8 51. (48) Mike McFarland 32:32.9 66. (63) Derek Storkel 33:01.7 117. (112) Paul Hilsen 34:27.7 Mead Wins, Gophers Third at Big Ten Championships Minnesota junior Hassan Mead captured the individual title at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships leading the Gold en Gophers to a third-place finish in the team standings. Mead covered the 5.2-mile course at the Penn State Cross Country Course in a time of 25 minutes, 0.2 seconds. He is the third Gopher to win two or more Big Ten cross country crowns, joining Fred Watson (1913-15) and Garry Bjorklund (1969-71). Mead is the 19th Big Ten multiple champion and first since Wisconsin’s Simon Bairu won back-to-back crowns in 2004-04. Mead, who crossed the finish line 5.7 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, also collected his third All-Big Ten First Team honor of his career. Senior Matt Barrett contributed a ninth-place finish to earn All-Big Ten Second Team accord. Barrett was timed in 25:35.2. The Gophers compiled 97 team points to finish third behind Wisconsin (26) and Ohio State (91). The Badgers won their 11th straight Big Ten title. Completing the scoring for the Gophers was Ben Blankenship, who finished 18th (25:53.4); Pieter Gagnon, who placed 27th in 26:09.4; and Derek Storkel, who finished 42nd in 26:41.9. Other Gophers running were Paul Hilsen, who finished 55th in 27:06.2; and Mike McFarland, who placed 66th in 27:42.9.
Mead Claims Second Big Ten Weekly Honor of 2009 Season For the second time in the 2009 season, Minnesota junior All-American Hassan Mead was honored as the Big Ten Conference Runner of the Week. Mead tallied a third-place finish in the White Race at the Pre-NCAA Meet in Terre Haute, Ind. He clocked a time of 23 minutes, 49.2 seconds over the 8-kilometer LaVern Gibson Championship Course. The award is the fourth of Mead’s Golden Gopher career. The Big Ten defending champion, Mead was honored twice with Runner of the Week accolades during the 2008 campaign, and earlier this season after winning the Griak Invitational title.
Mead Fifth in Pre-NCAA White Race Hassan Mead placed fifth in the White Race at the Pre-NCAA Meet in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Oct. 17. Minnesota placed 11th as a team. The meet is held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course, the same facility that plays host to the NCAA Championships in November. An 8-kilometer course was traversed in the Pre-NCAA Meet. The race distance will jump to 10 kilometers for the national meet. Mead clocked a time of 23 minutes, 49.2 seconds over a soft, somewhat muddy course. A year ago, Mead set the Minnesota 8-kilometer record at the Gibson Course with a time of 23:33.1. Ben Blankenship tallied a 24th-place showing as the Gophers’ number-two runner. Blankenship crossed the finish line in 24:11.2. Matt Barrett was 60th in a time of 24:39.1, while Pieter Gagnon placed 90th in 25:00.8. Paul Hilsen was the final Gopher scorer, placing 162nd in 25:51.3. “We had a good, not great outing, today,” said Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia. “Our top four ran solid but we just need to move our fifth guy up. That gap between 90 and 162 is too big. It’s the different. We have another runner up there in the mix and we would have a much better finish as a team.” Other Gophers competing were Sean Olson, who placed 173rd in 25:59.6, and Travis Burkstrand, who finished 200th in 26:24.7. The Gophers compiled 341 points in the team standings. Stanford captured the team win in the White Race with 47 behind individual titlist Chris Derrick (23:27.1). Oregon won the Blue Race team title with 79 points.
Mead Wins Griak Title, Gophers Fourth as a Team Golden Gopher All-American Hassan Mead set Minnesota history on Saturday (Sept. 26), becoming the first Minnesota men’s cross country runner to capture medalist honors at the Roy Griak Invitational. Mead, running his first meet of the 2009 season, covered the 8-kilometer course in a time of 24 minutes, 37.5 seconds. Despite placing three runners in the top six, Minnesota finished fourth in the team standings with 101 points. Ben Blankenship posted an impressive fourth-place finish running a time of 24:56.9, while Matt Barrett tallied a sixth-place showing in 25:01.0. Mead pushed the pace of the race early on then ran comfortably from the front and extending his lead. The defending Big Ten champion, Mead won the Griak crown by over 12 seconds over runner-up Iowa State’s Guor Majak.