Golden Gopher Cross Country This Week:
2008 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships
Monday, Nov. 24
Women 11 a.m. (CT)
Men 11:48 a.m. (CT)
LaVern Gibson Championship Course
Terre Haute, Ind.
Indiana State U. - Host
TV - Live - CBS College Sports Network
Webcast - NCAA.com
Golden Gopher Watch List Nov. 24, 2008
Golden Gopher Head Off to NCAA Championships - The Minnesota men’s and women’s cross country teams
both earned automatic 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 a.m. (CT), followed by the men’s 10-kilometer event at approximately 11:48 a.m. (CT).
Mead and Rombough Pace Golden Gopher Men - The Minnesota men’s cross country team have two runners, All-Americans Hassan Mead and Chris Rombough, to lead the pack. Rombough, competing in his fourth NCAA Championships has the chance to become the first three-time All-American in Minnesota cross country history.
Golden Gopher Women Consistent - The Minnesota women’s cross country team is coming off team titles in both the Big Ten and NCAA Midwest Region Championships. The Golden Gophers are among six teams to place in the top 12 in the NCAAs in each of the last three seasons.\
NCAA Meet Televised - The CBS College Sports Network will broadcast the NCAA Cross Country Championships live. NCAA.com will carry a live webcast of the national meet.
The NCAA Championships
The Minnesota men’s cross country team will make its 11th appearance in 12 seasons at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, held Monday, Nov. 24 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 broadcast live on CBS College Sports Network and streamed online via NCAA.com. Check out Flotrack.com for additional coverage and interviews from the national meet.
First Time at NCAAs WIth Two All-Americans
The Golden Gophers travel to the national meet for the first time with two returning All-American set to lead the way. Chris Rombough has the chance to become the first three-time All-American in Minnesota men’s cross country history. Rombough will join past Gophers Will McComb, Andrew McKessock and Ryan Malmin to have competed in four NCAA Cross Country Championships. Hassan Mead earned All-America honors a year as a true freshman.
The NCAA Field
Thirty-one (31) teams will compete in the NCAA Championships, 18 of them, including Minnesota, 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 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, down one team from last year. Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin all earned automatic berths.
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 defending team champion from a year ago and has held the number-one ranking all season long. Other team’s expected to contend are Oklahoma State, Stanford and Wisconsin. Liberty’s Josh McDougal, the 2007 individual champion, has graduated.
Minnesota at the NCAA Championships
Minnesota will make its 20th appearance in the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The Gophers have competed in 11 of the last 12 Championships, missing out only in 2006. The best finish for the Gophers was a fourth-place showing in 1968.
Gophers Eighth in 2007 NCAA Championships
Minnesota posted its best NCAA Championships finish in 29 years in 2007, placing eighth in the national meet. The Gophers had their top three finishers - Chris Rombough, Hassan Mead and Forrest Tahdooahnippah - earned All-America honors.
Golden Gophers Ranked No. 12
The Gopher men enter the national meet ranked No. 12 in the USTFCCCA National Poll. Minnesota is one of four Big Ten Conference teams listed in the rankings with Wisconsin at No. 4, Michigan at No. 9 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 possible participants and a listing of any previous experience at the national meet.
Matt Barrett (Jr., Monroe, Wis./Monroe)
Ben Blankenship (So., Stillwater, Minn./Stillwater/Mississippi State)
Ben Kampf (Jr., Farmington, Minn./Farmington)
Mike McFarland (So., Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead)
2007 - 161st, 31:36.5
Hassan Mead (So., Minneapolis, Minn./Minneapolis South)
2007 - 43rd, 30:37.6 (All-American)
Sean Olson (R-Fr., Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie)
Ben Puhl (Sr., Rochester, Minn./Century)
2007 - 208th, 32:19.5
Chris Rombough (Sr., Fremont, Wis./New London)
2005 - 105th, 30:59.4
2006 - 14th, 31:16.9 (All-American)
2007 - 29th, 30:24.8 (All-American)
Mike Torchia (So., Rochester, Minn./Lourdes)
Minnesota Coaching Staff
Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia is in his 13th season leading the Minnesota program. Plasencia as guided the Gophers to NCAA Championships berths in 10 of his 12 years with his alma mater with last fall’s eighth-place NCAA finish the best since 1969. In July of 2008, Plasencia was named the Golden Gophers’ head men’s track & field coach. Volunteer assistant coach Jason Havey is in his first year with the Gophers.
Hassan Mead Honored as the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Runner of the Year
Sophomore Hassan Mead was named the 2008 USTFCCCA Midwest Region Runner of the Year after capturing medalist honors at both the Big Ten Conference Championships and NCAA Midwest Region Championships in the past month. Mead will receive the award at the NCAA Championships Banquet on Saturday.