Quoting from the University of Minnesota media release on the subject:
Ben Blankenship, a Stillwater, Minn., native and a two-time Minnesota Class AA champion in the 1,600 meters, has transferred to Minnesota after one year at Mississippi State. Blankenship will be eligible to compete for the Golden Gophers in cross country and track in 2008-09.
“We are extremely excited that Ben has decided to return to his home state and run for the Gophers,” said Golden Gopher head coach Steve Plasencia. “Ben had an extremely successful high school running career working with Scott Christensen at Stillwater and ran solidly for Mississippi State as a freshman. He has the potential to run with the best in the Big Ten."
Blankenship earned All-NCAA South Region honors in cross country last fall, placing 25th in the NCAA South Region Championships with a time of 31 minutes, 42.83 seconds over the 10-kilometer course. He place 23rd at the 2007 Southeastern Conference Championships and was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman Team. Blankenship competed in seven meets for the Bulldogs last season, finishing among Mississippi State’s top two finishers six times.
On the track, Blankenship clocked season-best times in two events at the 2008 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Blankenship ran a time of 3:51.45 in the prelims of the 1,500-meter run and a time of 14:25.94 in the 5,000 meters.
Blankenship earned several all-state accolades as an athlete at Stillwater High School. He won the state crowns in the 1,600 meters as a junior and senior and added a third-place finish in the 3,200-meter run in 2006. Blankenship finished sixth as a junior in the 2005 Minnesota Class AA Cross Country Championships, leading Stillwater to a second-place finish.