Gophers Ready for Today's NCAA Championships Race Gopher Harriers Ready for NCAA Championships
Golden Gopher Cross Country
2010 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships
Monday, Nov. 22 Women — 11:08 a.m. (CT) Men — 11:48 a.m. (CT) LaVern Gibson Championship Course Terre Haute, Ind. Indiana State U. - Host
TV - None Webcast - NCAA.com Golden Gopher Watch List — Nov. 22, 2010 • Golden Gopher Travel to NCAA Cross Country 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 women’s 6-kilometer race begins at 11:08 a.m. (CT), followed by the men’s 10-kilometer race at 11:48 a.m. (CT). • Golden Gopher Consistent at National Level - The Minnesota women’s cross country team is one of only two teams to place in the top 12 in the NCAAs in each of the last five seasons. The Gopher men have made NCAA appearances in 13 of the last 14 years. • Gophers to Watch - Junior Stephanie Price, redshirt freshman Missa Varpness and senior Nikki Swenson have been the Gophers’ top runners all season on the women’s side. Price was NCAA Midwest Region champion, while Varpness and Swenson earned all-region honors. The men are led by a trio of all-region runners in seniors Ben Blankenship and Mike Torchia and sophomore Pieter Gagnon. Blankenship finished third in the Big Ten Championships. • NCAA Meet Webcast – A live webcast of the NCAA Cross Country Championships can be found at NCAA.com.
NCAA Championships Next For Gophers The Minnesota men’s cross country team will make its 13th appearance in 15 seasons at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, held Monday, Nov. 22 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 11:48 a.m. (CT). Watch It Live The NCAA Cross Country Championships will be streamed online via NCAA.com. Check out Flotrack.org 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 third year in a row. Indiana, Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin made the national meet field 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 Oklahoma State is the defending team champion and is expected to a strong contender for the title again this season. Stanford has held the top ranking for much of the season and returned to the top spot this week after two weeks at No. 2. Other team’s expected to contend are Oregon, Wisconsin and New Mexico. Liberty’s Samuel Chelanga is back to defend his national individual title.
Minnesota at the NCAA Championships Minnesota will make its 22nd appearance in the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The Gophers have competed in 13 of the last 14 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 2009 NCAA Championships Minnesota finished 24th overall in the 2009 NCAA Championships.Hassan Mead finished 16th to earn his third career All-America honor.
Golden Gophers Ranked No. 23rd The Gopher men enter the national meet ranked No. 23 in the USTFCCCA National Poll. Minnesota is one of four Big Ten Conference teams listed in the rankings with Wisconsin at No. 4, Indiana at No. 13 and Penn State at No. 26. 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. Ben Blankenship (Sr., Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater HS/Mississippi State) 2008 – 100th, 30:55.1 2009 – 116th, 31:05.1 Pieter Gagnon (So., Minneapolis, Minn./Washburn HS) 2009 – 135th, 31:15.1 Kevin Lachowitzer (So., Perham, Minn./Perham HS) Andrew Larsen (RFr., Glen Ellyn, Ill./Marmion) Mike McFarland (Sr., Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead HS) 2007 – 161st, 31:36.5 2008 – 171st, 31:27.0 2009 – 221st, 32:32.7 Sean Olson (Jr., Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie HS) 2009 – 229th, 32:59.7 Mike Torchia (Sr., Rochester, Minn./Lourdes) 2008 – 231st, 32:25.0 Erik Truedson (RFr., Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) - alternate
Mead Out for the Season Minnesota senior Hassan Mead has missed the entire 2010 cross country season after suffering a collapsed lung during an easy training run in early September. Mead has struggled with injuries over the last year. Mead redshirted the 2010 indoor and outdoor track seasons with an Achilles tendon injury. Mead has one season of cross country and two seasons of track eligibility. Mead is a three-time NCAA cross country All-American and a two-time Big Ten and NCAA Midwest Region champion (2008 and 2009). He placed 16th in the 2009 NCAA meet.
Gophers Finish Third at NCAA Midwest Region Championships The Minnesota men’s cross country team placed third in the NCAA Midwest Region Championships on Nov. 13, in Peoria, Ill, while three Golden Gophers ran to all-region honors. No. 8 Oklahoma scored 43 points to upset No. 1 Oklahoma State (50) to capture the team title. Both teams, however, will receive an automatic qualifying berth to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 22. Minnesota scored 119 points for third points. Ben Blankenship led the Gophers with a seventh-place finish to earn his second career all-region honor. Blankenship covered the 10-kilometer course at Bradley University’s Newman Golf Course in a time of 29 minutes, 58.34 seconds. If the Gophers as a team do not make the NCAA field, Blankenship will due to his seventh-place regional showing. “Ben ran a smart, steady race today,” said Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia. “He was part of the second pack that had to run with a lot of discipline. He did a nice job.” Oklahoma’s Kevin Schwab pushed out to a huge lead but was unable to hang on for the win. Oklahoma State’s Colby Lowe caught Schwab at the finish line to win by just four-hundredths of a second (0.04). Lowe clocked a time of 29:30.70, to 29:30.74 for Schwab. The pair crossed the finish line over 15 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Mike Torchia also earned all-region honors for the second time in his career. Torchia finished 12th in a time of 30:13.78 and was joined on the all-region team by Pieter Gagnon, who was 18th in a time of 30:26.20. The top 25 finishers are accorded all-region honors. Minnesota’s scoring was completed by Kevin Lachowitzer, who placed 39th in a time of 31:05.66; and Andrew Larsen, who finished 45th in 31:11.96. Also competing for the Gophers were Sean Olson, who placed 59th in 31:29.31; and Mike McFarland, who finished 62nd in 31:38.83.
2010 NCAA Midwest Region Cross Country Championships Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 Newman Golf Course – 10K Hosted by Bradley U. – Peoria, Ill.
Team Results 1. Oklahoma 2-6-9-11-15-(39)-(40) 43 2. Oklahoma State 1-3-4-19-23-(26)-(31) 50 3. Minnesota 7-12-18-38-44-(56)-(59) 119 4. Iowa State 13-14-27-37-45-(53)-(84) 136 5. Illinois 17-24-32-33-34-(36)-(50) 140
Top Individuals 1. Colby Lowe (Oklahoma State) 29:30.70 2. Kevin Schwab (Oklahoma) 29:30.74 3. German Fernandez (Oklahoma State) 29:46.44 4. Tom Farrell (Oklahoma State) 29:53.38 5. Jeff Thode (Iowa) 29:55.78 6. George Alex (Oklahoma) 29:56.52 7. Ben Blankenship (Minnesota) 29:58.34 8. David Adams (Nebraska) 30:00.03 9. Robert Sorrell (Oklahoma) 30:00.66 10. Don Wasinger (Kansas) 30:05.30
Other Golden Gopher Finishes 12. Mike Torchia 30:13.78 18. Pieter Gagnon 30:26.20 39. Kevin Lachowitzer 31:05.66 45. Andrew Larsen 31:11.96 59. Sean Olson 31:29.31 62. Mike McFarland 31:38.83 Minnesota, Ben Blankenship Third at Big Ten Championships Ben Blankenship’s third-place finish paced the Minnesota men’s cross country team to its finest performance of the 2010 season, placing third in the Big Ten Conference Cross Country Championships in Verona, Wis., on Oct. 31. Host Wisconsin ran away with its 12th straight team title finishing with all its scorers in the top 12 and tallying 28 points. Indiana was second with 75 points, while the Gophers scored 101 for third. The Badgers hosted the Championships on their new Zimmer Championships Course. “I’m pleased by our performance today,” said Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia. “The guys carried out our race plan well. Our top six guys just kept moving up throughout the race. We got a great boost from Ben (Blankenship) running at the front.” Blankenship was part of a leading foursome that broke away in the final two kilometers of the race and battled for the individual title down the stretch. The top four racers finished within a 3-second span with Wisconsin’s Landon Peacock winning in a time of 23 minutes, 40.8 seconds, followed by Indiana’s Andrew Bayer (23:41.3), Blankenship (23:41.4) and Wisconsin’s Mohammed Ahmed (23:42.7). Blankenship garners All-Big Ten First Team accord for his performance. Senior Mike Torchia earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors with his 14th-place finish. Torchia covered the 8-kilometer course in a time of 24:02.7. Sophomore Pieter Gagnon was Minnesota’s third finisher, placing 17th in a time of 24:09.6. Another sophomore, Kevin Lachowitzer, was the fourth Gopher to finish, crossing the line in 30th-place in a time of 24:30.7. Redshirt freshman Andrew Larsen completed the scoring for the Gophers, tallying a 37th-place showing in 24:36.4. Larsen was the third freshmen finisher in the meet. Also competing for the Gophers were Sean Olson, who placed 43rd in 24:47.2; Erik Truedson, who was 52nd in 24:58.4; John Simons in 54th in 25:01.7; and Paul Hilsen, who placed 63rd in 25:13.9.
2010 Big Ten Conference Cross Country Championships Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010 Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course – 8K Verona, Wis.
Team Results 1. Wisconsin 1-4-5-6-12-(26)-(33) 28 2. Indiana 2-11-15-18-29-(45)-(56) 75 3. Minnesota 3-14-17-30-37-(43)-(51) 101 4. Penn State 8-13-27-34-46-(48)-(54) 128 5. Michigan State 16-23-31-32-39-(58)-(62) 141 6. Illinois 20-21-35-36-38-(52)-(59) 150 7. Ohio State 19-22-40-41-42-(49)-(57) 164 8. Michigan 7-10-53-55-60-(64)-(69) 185 9. Iowa 9-25-47-61-63-(65)-(67) 205 10. Purdue 24-28-44-50-66-(68)-(70) 212
Top Individuals 1. Landon Peacock (Wisconsin) 23:40.8 2. Andrew Bayer (Indiana) 23:41.3 3. Ben Blankenship (Minnesota) 23:41.4 4. Mohammed Ahmed (Wisconsin) 23:42.7 5. Elliot Krause (Wisconsin) 23:43.0 6. Maverick Darling (Wisconsin) 23:50.8 7. Bobby Aprill (Michigan) 23:50.9 8. Kyle Dawson (Penn State) 23:53.9 9. Jeff Thode (Iowa) 23:55.6 10. Craig Forys (Michigan) 23:57.6
Other Golden Gopher Finishes 14. Mike Torchia 24:02.7 17. Pieter Gagnon 24:09.6 30. Kevin Lachowitzer 24:30.7 37. Andrew Larsen 24:36.4 43. Sean Olson 24:47.2 37. Erik Truedson 24:50.4 54. John Simons 25.01.7 63. Paul Hilsen 25:13.9 Gophers Fifth in Griak Invitational Minnesota placed fifth in a talented field at the Griak Invitational on Sept. 25. The Gophers looked to a pair of seniors in Ben Blankenship and Mike Torchia to lead the way. Blankenship finished 10th in a time of 24:31.1, while Torchia was 14th in 24:42.4. Sophomore Pieter Gagnon was the third Gopher in the top 20, placing 15th in a time of 24:42.9. Minnesota Coaching Staff Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia is in his 15th 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 Chris Rombough is in his first year on the Gopher coaching staff after collecting three All-America honors in his Minnesota cross country career.