Monday, November 30, 2009

Smyth Second at Manchester Road Race

In another strong run in his budding road racing career, Team USA Minnesota's Patrick Smyth finished second at the Manchester Road Race held on Thanksgiving Day in Connecticut.

Smyth (pictured running the TC 10 Mile) clocked 21:41 over the 4.748 mile course. The Notre Dame alum was edged at the finish by Kenya's Haron Lagat who ran 21:40. Smyth earned $2500 for his efforts.

Teammate Matt Gabrielson was 14th in the race in 22:39.

After a flat open mile run in 4:30 and an uphill second mile split in 5:02, Smyth found himself in a pack of about a dozen runners nearing the race's half-way point.

"It was all down hill on the third mile," Smyth explained in a Team USA Minnesota media release. "My game plan was to take the lead during the downhill which I did. I put a little gap on the field but by mile three they overtook me again."

"After that I stayed in contention," he continued. "[I] was in the final three toward the finish, and picked it up down Main Street. But Lagat had an extra gear and beat me by a second."

Smyth, who is currently based in Chicago where he is attending graduate school, has had a sterling half-year on the roads since graduating from college in June. He finished 5th at the USA 10K Championship, 11th at the USA 20K and 3rd at the USA 10 Mile held in conjunction with the Medtronic TC 10 Mile.

Smyth will compete next at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston on Jan. 17, which will be his debut at the distance.

Complete results of the Manchester Road Race are HERE.

Photo by Gene Niemi.

Mashed! Stuffing's Thanksgiving Reign Ends

Make a bit more room on your plate for Mashed Potatoes!

The starchy side-dish out-polled two-time defending champion Stuffing in DtB's annual Thanksgiving Poll. Mashed Potatoes earned 25% of the vote to Stuffing's 22%.

Pumpkin Pie, a vegetable disguised as dessert, finished third with 20%, while Turkey, long considered the focal point of Thanksgiving foods, finished 4th with 17%

In all, a record 79 DtB readers voted in the poll.

Cranberries finished 5th with 10% of the votes. Gravy, the holiday's guilty pleasure, finished a distant 6th with 3% of the vote.

Mashed Potato coach Buddy Russet had nothing but praise for his team of pulverized tubers.

"I can't say enough about my spuds," Russet said from the team's training center in Idaho. " We finished third in '07 and were co-runner's up last year, so this victory is the result of three years of hard work. We come to the poll hoping to represent ourselves well every year -- to win it, well, that's just gravy!"

Stuffing coach David Gates tipped his hat to Mashed Potatoes.

"I congratulate the new champs, they deserve the title," he said. "I'm proud of my Stuffing team, too. We certainly don't feel like leftovers."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from DtB!

Gobble gobble, track and cross country fans!

It time again for us to shutter the DtB office for a few days to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. We hope each and every one of you have a pleasant holiday spending time with family and friends. We'll be back again on Monday with the latest news from the sport.

In the meantime, we want to extend our thanks to you, our loyal DtB readers, for continuing to visit our site and make the work of gathering Minnesota's track and field, cross country, and running news so rewarding.


The Annual Poll ... Of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving on DtB without the annual Thanksgiving Poll. Again, we ask you all to vote on your favorite Thanksgiving foods in the poll that you'll find on the left sidebar.

Before you vote, let us tell you what's at stake ...

#1-ranked Stuffing enters the competition hoping to win an unprecedented third straight Thanksgiving Poll title. After a heaping victory in 2007, when the side-dish earned 52% percent of the votes, Stuffing eked out a 33% to 29% win over co-runners-up Pumpkin Pier and Mashed Potatoes last year. Turkey, the runner-up in 2007, finished 4th in 2008.

Thanksgiving Poll observers are calling the 2009 race too close to call, noting each of last year's top-4 finishers have a chance to be the centerpiece in this year's competition. (Gravy and Cranberries, which have never crack the top-half of the results in the poll, are expected to battle for 5th place in the six-food competition.)

Voting in the Thanksgiving poll is open until one minute before midnight, Sunday, November 29.

Armstrong, Carlson Power USA Ekiden to 5th

Team USA Minnesota's Meghan Armstrong and former Golden Gopher star Andrew Carlson propelled the USA team to a 5th-place finish at the International Chiba Ekiden in Japan on Monday.

The USA clocked 2:09:42 for the 42.195K, six runner, coed relay. Japan won with 2:05:58.

Running the second leg of the race, Armstrong clocked 16:18 for 5K, which moved the USA squad into 7th place. Carlson, running the 5th leg of the event, clocked 29:20 for 10K and handed off the relay sash to the USA anchor in 4th place.

USA Track and Field has the full story of the race HERE.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gopher Women 10th at NCAAs

Hear Gopher women's coach Gary Wilson talk about his 10th place team here ...

From left, Stephanie Price, Kayla Wagner, Elizabeth Yetzer, Nikki Swenson, Megan Duwell, Amy Laskowske, and Heather Dorniden.

Photo by Randy Miyazaki.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NCAA D1 Championships Bullet Points

Here's the Minnesota low-down from the NCAA Division I Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana this afternoon ...

-- The University of Minnesota women placed 10th.

-- Gopher senior Megan Duwell placed 7th overall and was named an All-American.

-- Gopher junior Hassan Mead placed 16th overall and was named an All-American.

-- The Gopher men placed 24th.

-- Henry Sibley alum Chris Stublaski was the 7th-man for NCAA Men's Champions Oklahoma State.

-- Hopkins alum Mike Krisch of Georgetown was 32nd overall.

-- Winona High School alum Elliott Heath 37th overall for Stanford.

Important NCAA Links ...

-- Women's Team Results

-- Women's Individual Results

-- Men's Team Results

-- Men's Individual Results

-- Gopher women's wrap-up.

-- Gopher men's wrap-up.

Photo of Hassan Mead (#373) by Randy Miyazaki.

Women's NCAA Early Report

They're off in the women's race. After the first K, covered by the favorites Jenny Barringer of Colorado and Susan Kuijken of the Netherlands and Florida State in 3:04. The rest of the field packed in behind with the lead duo already having opened a big gap as the top two passed the mile in 5:02.

Team favorites, the University of Washington, have team leader Kendra Schaaf trying to get up to the top two only 3 seconds behind. The top duo went through 2K in 6:17, and 3K 9:38. Just past this point Barringer suddenly slowed all of a sudden and fell back. Kuijken, who runs with a "floating rib" that requires cortisone injections because it stabs her diaphram, has taken command of the individual race. Barringer continued to fall back, collapsed and fell to the ground, got up and kept going.

18 minutes into the race Illinois' Angela Bizzarri and Schaaf blew past Kuikjen. Down the homestretch Bizzarri pulled away to win in 19:46.8. Schaaf finished second and Kuijken held on for third. Barringer finished in the pack well back of the leaders with a kick down the homestretch. The University of Minnesota's Megan Duwell finished 7th to lead the women to a 10th place team finish.

"I thought I had a shot, but I wasn't sure," said Bizzarri of the individual race. "I tried to stay in touch with the leaders and see how it turned out. I'm so excited. It's unbelieveable. I really don't have words for it." Same might be said for the Villanova team who dominated the women's race, upsetting defending champion, Washington.

"I didn't feel so good," said Barringer. "Every time I tried to pick it up, I had to stop. It's a mystery. That's what we'll be doing the next several weeks, figuring out what happened."

Women's team results are available Here. Women's individual results are Here.

Read about the Gophers Here.

Early report from NCAA

At 5K Sam Chelanga, a Kenyan running for Liberty University, had a 30 second lead with a time of 14:09. Hassan Mead of MN was in the second group trailing Chelenga about 40 seconds back. Oklahoma State, running with that solid pack that got them to the NCAA's was the top team at 5K. Chelanga continued to push the pace through 6K, putting another 10 seconds on Stanford's Chris Derrick, who led that pack. Mead was in the group just behind.

U of M fans were very visible on the course in Indiana with their large flags flying in the breeze. Chelanga leads by 45 seconds at 7K. At 8K, in 22:46, Chelanga looks like he has the race wrapped up with a 39 seconds lead. Oklahoma State has similar command of the team race.

Chelanga wins in 28:41. Mead finished back in 16th in 29:51. Elliott Heath of Stanford and Winona was further back, finishing 37th in 30:20. The U of M team finished 24th in the team race with 493 points. As the post race interviews were taking place in the finish chute, Mead could be seen in the background walking with his arms around the shoulders of two of his teammates as the trio compared notes on the experience.

Chelenga won by 22 seconds. "I'm glad I finally won it," Chelenga said afterwards. "Today I just wanted to do something. I was ready."

David McNeill, an Aussie running for Northern Arizona, was a surprise runner-up in 29:06. "I went to the front from the gun," he said. "And hung on for as long as I could. I got around the last bend and I just went for it. (I knew going in that) a top three was going to be a big ask, but it just goes to show that if you believe in yourself anything can happen."

Derrick, who was third, was disappointed most in the failure of Stanford to win the team title. "We just kind of bombed," Derrick said. "It was something we really didn't expect." As for the individual race, where Derrick was also favored, he added: "I thought 14:09(for the first 5K) was suicide. Congratulations to Sam. He just ran really amazing. I tried to drop David, but he was really strong. I just didn't have anything left."

Ryan Vail, the captain and team leader for Oklahoma State, who scored 127 points for the team win, it was the first title for their school since 1954. "This has been our goal ever since we got to Oklahoma State," said Vail. "I really feel proud."

Men's team results are Here. Men's individual results are Here.

Read about the Gophers Here.

NCAA Monday ... Waiting for the Starting Gun

As we await the start of the NCAA Division I Championships -- the men get underway at 11:08 a.m. CST while the women take off at 11:58 -- we draw your attention to the official previews for the University of Minnesota teams.

Read about the Gopher women, who are seeking their 5th-straight top-12 finish at NCAAs, HERE.

Read about the Gopher men and star Hassan Mead HERE.

The meet will be web-cast, HERE, starting at 11;00 a.m. CST.

Technology Willing ... DtB will have the Minnesota news from NCAAs as soon as it happens. (Thanks for your patience with us over the weekend!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Technical Difficulties

We've been having some technical problems with Blogger and haven't been able to provide the in-depth coverage that we had planned for this weekend's NCAA Cross Country Championships. We hope to have the problem resolved and resume complete coverage soon. Thanks for your patience.

NCAA D2 Championships Bullet Points

Until we're able to resume full coverage, here are some highlights from the Division II Championships in Evansville, Indiana:

• Morgan Place of UMD finishes 6th
• UMD women finish in 7th place
• Womens recap here
• Womens results here
• Mens recap here
• Mens results here

NCAA D3 Championships Bullet Points

Until we're able to resume full coverage, here are some highlights from the Division III Championships in Cleveland:

• Marie Borner of Bethel finishes 2nd
• Carleton's women are 11th
• Dan Greeno of Bethel is 10th
• St. Thomas men are 19th

Minnesota women's all-Americans at D3:
• Marie Borner, Bethel, 2nd
• Simone Childs-Walker, Carleton, 11th
• Laura Roach, Carleton, 25th
• Margot Branigan, Hamline, 32nd

Men's D3 all-Americans from Minnesota
• Dan Greeno, Bethel, 10th
• Dobuol Ruon, St. Olaf, 24th
• Ben Sathre, St. Thomas, 26th
• Ian Bauer, Hamline, 27th

Full results are here.

Photos are here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

FLASH: Borner Runner-Up At NCAAs

Defending champion Marie Borner of Bethel University finished second, unofficially, at this morning's NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.

Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence won the race.

Unofficial individual results are HERE.

The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire won the women's team title.

Carleton College finished 11th.

Unofficial team results are HERE.

Listen to Borner in her own words ...

We're having a few technical difficulties at the moment, so for full results, you can go Here. We'll be back online with a full report as soon as possible.

LIVE: NCAA Division III Championships

Down the Backstretch is on-site at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in Cleveland, Ohio this morning. Weather conditions are ideal for November racing -- 50 degrees and calm, albeit cloudy.

The women race will get underway at 10:00 am CST; the men will follow at 11:00 a.m.

We plan to post flash news immediately after each race and the file fuller reports shortly after the action is over.

Stay tuned for the NCAAs on DtB!

As We Wait ... You might enjoying remembering, HERE, just how many Minnesota women have won D3 individual titles ... seven women representing Minnesota colleges and two Minnesota high school grads representing Luther College

Friday, November 20, 2009

Yes/No's Season-Ending NCAA Tripleheader

All good things must come to an end. As the college cross country season concludes this weekend, the 2009 Yes/No competition will end as well.

But, national meets abound this weekend. Division III will be hosted by Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio on Saturday. Division II is taking place at the University of Southern Indiana the same day. And finally, Division I will be held Monday at Indiana State.

The Yes/No contest will go out with a bang - we have three separate questions this week. We will track a top area runner in each division in their respective races. Just how good are these athletes? All three won their conference and regional races and have combined to win 15 of 18 races this year.

Let us know how well these All-Americans will do at Nationals:

Yes/No D1: Since the national meet distance increased to 10k in the 1970's, the highest place a Gopher athlete has finished is 13th. Will Hassan Mead finish in the top 12 on Monday?

Yes/No D2: Will Morgan Place break her own UMD record for best place at a National Meet and finish in the top 6 on Saturday?

Yes/No D3: Will Marie Borner of Bethel University repeat as National Champion on Saturday?

Hassan Mead is coming off dominating performances at both the Big Ten Championship and the Midwest Regional Meet. Mead has achieved All-American status at his first two NCAA National Cross Country meets, finishing 43rd in 2007 and 31st in 2008.

Morgan Place is undefeated against D2 runners in 2009. She finished 7th at the 2008 NCAA National Cross Country Meet. Place has won 13 of 16 college cross country races in her career.

Marie Borner is the defending D3 National Champ in Cross Country. Borner has also won National crowns in indoor track (mile) and outdoor track (1500). Borner’s main competitor seems to be Ayla Mitchell from UW-Oshkosh. Mitchell finished 3rd to Borner in cross country last year. In 2009, Borner defeated Mitchell at the Griak meet but Mitchell was able to win the Brooks Invitational on her home course, finishing seven seconds ahead of Borner.

To play our game, type your "yes" or "no" answers into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us at DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 10:00 A.M. CST, Saturday, November 21. Please put your answer in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail. Each question will be worth one point.

My D1 answer: Yes

My D2 answer: Yes

My D3 answer: No

The previous Yes/No question was: Will Morgan Place win the D2 Central Regional Cross Country meet on Saturday? The correct answer was “yes” as Place ran away from the field, winning by 19 seconds. Five contestants answered correctly.

Here are the current Yes/No leaders for the year:

Doug Cowles - 27
Chad Bjugan - 20
Ryan Aylesworth - 19
Mitch Van Bruggen - 18
Lori Anne Peterson - 18
Nate Porath - 18
Mick Hondo – 18

You can find all of DtB's contest results and leaderboards at DtB Fantasy Corner.

Good luck and thanks for playing Yes/No on DtB!

Kara Goucher Talks About "Running By Feel"

Competitor's Matt Fitzgerald talks to Kara Goucher Here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NCAA Championship Week Links

We're hustling to get on the road to Ohio and Indiana for the NCAA Division III and I meets this weekend, so we'll quickly post day's major news links before we start the drive.

-- The U of M's Gary Wilson was named Midwest Region Women's Coach of the Year.

-- The Gopher's Hassan Mead was named the Midwest Region Athlete of the Year.

-- Carleton will enter the NCAA D3 meet as the top-ranked women's team from Minnesota at #12.

-- St. Thomas will enter the men's D3 meet as the top-ranked Minnesota men's team at #18.

MSHSL Cross Country Championships Gallery

Dennis Hahn has been chronicling track & field and distance running in Minnesota for decades. His new photo gallery on the USATF Minnesota site captures all of the spirit and emotion of the 2009 MSHSL Cross Country Championships.

Photo by Dennis Hahn.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NCAA-Bound Gophers Ranked #13 and #29

When the University of Minnesota cross country teams race at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Monday, they'll do so as the #13 and #29-ranked teams in the nation.

The Gopher women's team rose four spots to #13 in the newly released final poll of the 2009 season, thanks to their strong performance at the Midwest Regional in Springfield, Missouri. Only the third place finishers at the Big Ten Championships, the Gophers won big over conference runners-up Illinois at regionals to secure an automatic bid to NCAAs.

The Gopher men, who have been in and out of the national top-30 this season, are tied for #29 in the final poll. The youthful Gopher men earned an an at-large bid to the national meet after finishing 4th at the Midwest Regional.

Find the complete women's rankings HERE. The men's poll is HERE.

DtB at NCAAs ... Down the Backstretch will be on hand in Terre Haute with on-site coverage from the NCAA Championships! Join us Monday for meet highlights and comprehensive coverage of all the Minnesotans at NCAAs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goetzke, Wickstrom Win MDRA Grand Prix

Masters runners Kirt Goetzke and Andriette Wickstrom won the open divisions of this year's Minnesota Distance Running Association Grand Prix, which culminated at Rocky's Run earlier this month.

Wickstrom, 54, has now won the year-long racing circuit twice. She was the Grand Prix champion in 2005.

Goetzke's Grand Prix win is his first ever. He was the runner-up to Kirk Walztoni in 2008.

Nate Beaudin was the runner-up in men's open competition, while Scott Ramberg finished third. Leila McGrath was the second-place open female; Eileen Moran finished third.

The MDRA Grand Prix was contested over 13 races from January through November. Runners are judge on their ten best results during the year.

Complete results of the Grand Prix -- including age-group winners -- can be found HERE.

Registration for the 2010 MDRA Grand Prix is already underway HERE.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gopher Harriers Headed Back to NCAAs

Once again, a full complement of Gopher harriers will race at the NCAA Championships.

On Saturday, the #17-ranked University of Minnesota women's team earned an automatic spot on the NCAA starting line in Terre Haute, Indiana thanks to an emphatic 60 to 86 victory over Illinois at the Midwest Regional meet in Springfield, Missouri.

On Sunday night, the Gopher men earned an at-large invitation to nationals after finishing fourth in the Midwest. The men will make their 12th trip to NCAAs in the last 14 years. The women will attend "the big dance" for the 10th time in 13 years.

In addition, Golden Gopher junior Hassan Mead defended his Midwest Regional title running 30:22 for the 10K course.

Women Reaching Their Peak? ... The Gopher women won their third-straight Midwest Regional crown by running their best team race of the season. Megan Duwell led the squad with a runner-up finish to Illinois' Angela Bizzarri.

Behind Duwell, the Gophers put five runners in the top-20 -- Amy Laskowske was 9th, Heather Dorniden was 14th, Stephanie Price was 19th, and Kayla Wagner was 20th. No other team put four runners in the top-20.

"I didn't think we ran very well at the Big Ten meet in terms of being a pack," Gopher coach Gary Wilson told media after Regionals, "and we kind of faded at the end and I take blame for that."

"But today they all came together and did a great job." he said. "We had seven of the top 25. It was a great win for us. We just hadn't put it together all year, so today they did. Everyone was a fighter today and had a great group energy."

Nikki Swenson finished 21st for Minnesota; Elizabeth Yetzer was 25th.

The strong race has Wilson and his squad eager for the NCAA Championships and the possibility of improving upon the program's best-ever 9th-place finish there.

"I thought at the beginning of the year we could be a top-eight team," Wilson revealed, "which would be our best finish ever, and now we're ranked 17th and maybe we can be, we still have a shot at that."

"The kids' goal was to be in the top eight, but there are awfully good teams around up and down the line," he continued. "They key at the big dance is to just get in, keep your composure and not try to be a hero. Just run and see what happens."

Duwell is confident the team focus on the late-season will reap dividends at NCAAs.

"This season we really wanted to improve as the year went on and peak at the right time," the senior all-American said. "This win will give us a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum going into nationals."

A Seat at the Table ... After finishing 4th at the Midwest Regional on Saturday, the Gopher men were left to celebrate Hassan Mead's title defense and wait impatiently until Sunday night to learn whether they'd make the NCAA championships as an at-large selection.

The #29-ranked Gophers hoped their Midwest finish behind #2 Oklahoma State, #18 Oklahoma, and #27 Iowa State would be result enough to put them in the 31-team NCAA field and extend their season one more week.

The Gophers scored 125 points at the meet, trailing Oklahoma State's 50, Oklahoma's 71, and Iowa State's 109.

Scoring behind Mead were Matt Barrett who finished 15th overall, Ben Blankenship who was 28th, Pieter Gagnon 38th, and Mike McFarland 51st . Derek Storkel finished 66th and Paul Hilsen was 117th.

"We are certainly a bubble team. All we can do is wait and hope," Gopher coach Steve Plasencia offered post meet.

When the NCAA field was announced on Sunday evening, however, Minnesota was among the 13 at-large selections for the meet, where the team finished 15th last year and eighth in 2007.

Find complete Midwest Regional results HERE (women) and HERE (men.)

Find complete NCAA Championship field information HERE.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FLASH: Gopher Men Make NCAA Field

The University of Minnesota men's cross country team has earned an at-large bid to the NCAA cross country championships.

On Saturday, the Gopher men finished fourth at the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional, where two teams earned automatic qualifying spots, but the team was among the 13 at-large picks announced by the NCAA on Sunday.

The Gopher women, who won their third-straight Midwest Regional title on Saturday, will also compete at the national meet on Monday, November 23 in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Find the complete NCAA D1 fields HERE.

In Division III ... The St. Olaf College and Hamline University men's teams earned at-large selection to this Saturday's D3 meet in Cleveland, Ohio. They'll join Central Region men's co-champions St. Thomas at the meet.

The St. Olaf women earned an at-large bid to the D3 meet, joining cross-Northfield rivals Carleton, the Central Region women's champs.

Find the complete D3 field listed HERE.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Short-Cut: Results' Links for November 14

Right here is where to find results for D1, D3, and NXN regional competitions ...


D1 Midwest Regional: Men's Results * Women's Results
Update: Gopher women three-peat, Gopher men 4th; Mead defends title.
Other D1 Regionals: Results Links
Update: Elliott Heath runner-up in West Regional.

D3 Central Regional: Men's Results * Women's Results
Update: Carleton women win, St. Thomas men tie for title; Borner, Greeno medalists.
Other D3 Regionals: Results Links

NXN Heartland Regional: Results
Update: Eden Prairie & Bartnik win ... Wayzata boys, Elk River girls qualify.
Other NXN Regionals: Results Links


USATF Minnesota Junior Olympic XC: Results

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gophers Face Challenges at Midwest Regional

The University of Minnesota cross country teams face a stiffer fight than usual at tomorrow's NCAA Division I Midwest Regional Championships in Springfield, Missouri.

The #17-ranked Gopher women, the two-time defending Midwest Region champs, will need to beat #13-ranked Illinois, the runner-ups up at Big Tens who edged the Gophers there by three points, to win a third-straight Midwest title.

They'll likely also need to stay ahead of #18 Iowa State, which topped the Gophers at the Griak Invitational earlier in the season, to be assured of an automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana. #30 Iowa will also compete.

Despite the tight competition, the Gophers appear to be in solid position to qualify for the 31-team NCAA Championships a week from Monday. Two teams from the region qualify automatically. The Gophers performance resume this season, should put them in position to earn an at-large bid, should they finish third or fourth.

The Gopher women have qualified for the last four NCAA championships and 10 of the last 13.

Find the official Gopher women's preview HERE.

The Gopher men, runners-up in the Midwest last year and champions in 2007, face an uphill battle to qualify for their 12th NCAA Championship in the last 14 years.

Minnesota, ranked #29 nationally, faces #2 Oklahoma State, #18 Oklahoma, #27 Iowa State at the meet. Tulsa, which was ranked earlier in the season, could also contend for a qualifying spot.

Because the Gophers have lost to the Sooners and Cyclones earlier in the season, a finish lower than third at the meet would make qualifying at large very difficult. The first 10,000 meter race of the season has a lot riding on it for the young Gophers, who plan to run three freshman/red-shirt freshman on Saturday.

The Gophers will be led by defending Midwest Regional individual champion Hassan Mead, however. The Minneapolis South alum is one of three Gophers -- Andrew Carlson and Antonio Vega are the others -- to win the Midwest. He'll try to be the first Gopher to win back-to-back titles at the race.

Find the official Gopher's men's preview HERE.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pick 10: Divison I and III Regional Meets

NCAA Division I and Division III cross country athletes and teams will attempt to qualify for their respective national meets in contests all around the country this weekend. The local squads are all heading south to compete in their Regional Meets on Saturday. The Gophers will travel to Missouri State to face off with teams such as the #2 ranked Oklahoma State men and individuals like 2009 5000 Meter NCAA champion Angela Bizzarri. The MIAC teams will congregate at Grinnell, Iowa on Saturday morning to determine who moves on to the National Meet at Baldwin-Wallace.

Just as area cross country teams are getting one last chance to cap a great year or salvage a not-so-great one, fantasy contestants on DtB will be doing the same. The week will mark the end of the year for the Pick 10 contest and next week will conclude the Yes/No season.

A refresher on Pick Ten rules: You're asked to predict the finish place for each of 10 Minnesota athletes/teams in their respective regional races. You will score points for each athlete/team that scores at or above the finish place you predict for them. The rules change slightly for cross country as we will not use track and field scoring (10-8-6-5…) but will simply go 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for each place.

Remember though, if the athlete/team finishes below your predicted place, you receive zero points.

To play Pick Ten, cut and paste the list of names below into an e-mail and add your place predictions -- 1st, 2nd, 3rd ... or 10th. Send your predictions to DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com by 10:00 A.M. CDT on Saturday, November 14. Make sure your full name is in the e-mail. We'll announce the winner of this Pick Ten contest next week and crown a grand champion.

The current overall top-5 in Pick Ten is:

Doug Cowles – 286
Nate Porath - 258
Mick Hondo - 255
Ryan Aylesworth - 251
Charlie Mahler – 249

The full leaderboard is HERE.

Pick Ten ... Division I/Division III Regional Meets:

Megan Duwell (Gophers):
Hassan Mead (Gophers):
University of Minnesota Men:
University of Minnesota Women:
Elliott Heath (Stanford):
Carleton Women:
Hamline Men:
Margot Branigan (Hamline)
Dan Greeno (Bethel):
Ben Sathre (St. Thomas):

To Help You Make Your Picks ... Here is some information on the athletes/teams we've included in the competition:

Hassan Mead and Megan Duwell were all All-Americans in Cross Country in 2008. Mead won the Midwest Regional and finished 31st at Nationals in 2008. He is also the 2-time defending Big Ten Champ. Duwell was fourth at Regions and 32nd at Nationals last year. She is coming off a third place finish at Big Tens.

Elliott Heath is another former All-American with Minnesota ties. The Winona native finished third in the stacked PAC-10 Conference meet recently and will compete for Stanford in the West Regional on Saturday. Heath was 21st at Regions and 112th at Nationals in 2008.

The Gopher teams are also attempting to return to Nationals where they placed 15th (men) and 11th (women). On the men's side, #2 ranked Oklahoma State is the big favorite and the #29 ranked Gophers will be challenged by #18 Oklahoma and #27 Iowa State. The Gophers finished 2nd in the region last year. Oklahoma State features Minnesota natives John Stublaski and Ryan Little among it's top eight runners.

The #17 Gopher women are back to defend their Midwest Regional crown. They will be tested by #13 Illinois, #18 Iowa State and #30 Iowa.

Find 2008 Midwest Regional results here: Men Individual * Men Team * Women Individual * Women Team

The Carleton women and Hamline men emerged victorious at the MIAC meet recently and will match up again with their Minnesota foes as well as some tough teams from south of the border. Nationally ranked teams in the region include #14 Nebraska Wesleyan, #16 Carleton, #21 Wartburg, #24 Bethel, #26 St. Thomas and #32 Luther for the women. On the men's side, Nebraska Wesleyan is ranked #18, Hamline #26 and Grinnell #30.

Carleton women finished 5th in the Region in 2008 and went on to a 23rd place finish at Nationals. Hamline men have reloaded quickly from their 2008 squad that finished 9th at Regionals and did not qualify for nationals. Hamline graduated all-American Brandon Gleason but Paul Schmaedeke's squad really stepped up in 2009 led by 2nd place MIAC finisher Ian Bauer.

Click the links for 2008 Central Regional results for men and women.

Dan Greeno dominated MIAC two weeks ago and was 2nd in the Region and 33rd at Nationals in 2008, earning All-American status. Ben Sathre finished 3rd at MIAC and was the top Freshman in 2008 at the Regional Meet. He finished 23rd and was the lone Freshman in the top 40. Margot Branigan finished 3rd at the MIAC meet in 2009 and was 10th at the 2008 Regional Meet. Branigan qualified for Nationals and went on to finish 53rd.

Good luck!

Last week’s Yes/No question was: Will Morgan Place win the DII Central Regional Cross Country meet on Saturday? The correct answer was “yes” as Place ran away from the field, winning by 19 seconds. Five contestants answered correctly. The final Yes/No contest of the year will be next week and will likely feature two questions.

Thanks for playing Pick 10 on DtB!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Q & A: DtB Talks to Eden Prairie's Jeff Lindlief

On the heels of Eden Prairie's sweep of the boys' team and individual titles at the MSHSL State Cross Country Meet on Saturday (plus a third-place trophy in girls' Class AA), we tracked down Eagles' head coach Jeff Lindlief to get his thoughts on the big weekend.

Eden Prairie's boy's team title was the program's first, despite a eight-year steak of making the State meet -- out of the meat-grinder that is Section 6AA, no less!

Here's what Lindlief had to say about the meet and his teams ...

Down the Backstretch
: How did the boys' team race unfold for your squad? Did the races set up the way you hoped it would for your team?

Jeff Lindlief: The boys came in with a solid race plan and really executed it well. We didn't want to be "out-of-control" fast at the start, but yet, didn't want to be too far back at the 800. From there, they did a great job of consistently moving up in the pack throughout the race.

DtB: We heard that your #4 man had a big finish. Did you see that as it happened?

Lindlief: Yes, Erick Meszaros-Jones had the best 2nd half of any race in his career. He ran with great confidence and probably passed about 10 people in the last kilometer.

DtB: At the finish line, were you confident your team had won the race?

Lindlief: Absolutely not--in fact, I was pretty sure that Wayzata had beaten us. They are a very well-coached and successful team. We knew that the final score might be within ten points or less.

DtB: Eden Prairie has a tremendous tradition of making it out of Section 6AA and doing well at State. Still, what were the emotions like to finally win a boys' State title?

Lindlief: It was not only neat for the current EP team, but it was most rewarding to see many of our EPHS alumni and former coach, Larry Anderson at the meet. We've had plenty of 2nd and 3rd place finishes through the years, so it was fun to finally win one.

DtB: Tell us something about Aaron Bartnik. Would you have tabbed him as a potential State titlist at this time last year?

Lindlief: Aaron is an extremely talented and hard-working kid...but even as well as he ran in track last spring, I wouldn't have pegged him as a potential State CC Champion.

After seeing some of his early season workouts and races, it became apparent that if he stayed healthy, he would be right in the mix of things at State. The best thing about Aaron, however, is that even after winning a State individual title, he seemed to be even happier about his team winning the State team championship.

DtB: Finally, you had the #1-ranked girls' team going into State. The team finished 3rd in a close three-way finish. What was the determining factor in that race, from your point of view?

Lindlief: As you know, rankings are always so misleading. We knew that there were 5-6 teams that were very close in the State coming into St. Olaf. Other than seeing Lakeville South (in the Lake Conference Meet in October), we hadn't raced any of those teams since September... so we weren't too caught up in the #1 ranking!

We certainly didn't have an awful race, but it also probably wasn't our best performance all year. Only 3 of our 7 girls had ever competed in a Section or State Meet before this year, so hopefully this year's experience will help us next fall!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HS Harriers Looking Beyond Minnesota

Regular readers of Down the Backstretch know that, in the fall anyway, Tuesdays are the days we post the Minnesota high school cross country rankings. After Saturday's sun-spangled State Meet however, we need to find something else to report.

Or do we ...

For many prep harriers, the season still has a few weeks to run as they look ahead to Nike Cross Nationals or Footlocker competition. We thought -- it being Tuesday and all -- we'd bring you up-to-date on those events ... and even share the most recent NXN Heartland Region and Harrier Magazine national rankings.

NXN Heartland ... The Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional meet is scheduled for Saturday at Yankton Trails Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Teams and individuals can still register for the meet until 8:00 p.m. CST tonight. Details on the event can be found HERE.

The top two teams in the boys' and girls' championship races will automatically qualify for Nike Cross Nationals, to be contested in Portland, Oregon on December 5,

Last year, the Wayzata boys and the Eden Prairie girls' teams won the Heartland Regional and qualified for Nike Cross Nationals -- Wayzata finishing 18th, Eden Prairie placing 11th. The 2008 Heartland individual boys' champ, of course, was Grand Rapids exchange-student Jacub Zivec, who was the runner-up a NXN.

2008 Heartland Region results are HERE. 2008 NXN results are HERE.

Regional and National Polls ... This year, the Eden Prairie boys, the newly minted MSHSL Class AA champions are ranked #1 in the Heartland. The Class AA runners-up Wayzata, are ranked #2 in the most recent Heartland poll, HERE, dated October 16.

On the girls' side, Eden Prairie, the thrid place team in Class AA, is ranked #3 in the Heartland. Class AA champs Elk River is ranked #8.

The Wayzata boys are ranked #18 and Eden Prairie boys #21 in Harrier Magazine's November 2 national poll, HERE. No Minnesota girls' team are in the national top-25.

Footlocker Cross Country ... The Footlocker Midwest Regional is set for November 28 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Zivec was the Footlocker Midwest Region champ in 2008, and finished 5th at Footlocker Nationals.

Footlocker Nationals will be contested December 12 in San Diego, California.

Find Footlocker information HERE.

2008 Midwest Regionals results are HERE. 2008 Footlocker National results are HERE.

Monday, November 09, 2009

State Meet Photo Gallery -- By Gene Niemi

Class AA Early-Going: defending champ Lukas Gemar (251) leads eventual winner Aaron Bartnik (191) and the rest of the field.

Eden Prairie junior Bartnik wins boys' Class AA.

Class A Girls: 2009 runner-up Emma Bates (372) leads 2007 Class AA champ Laura Hughes (far left.)

Class AA girls' titlist Marie Hauger of Shakopee.

Class A boys' champ Mubarik Musa of Worthington.

Class A girls' champ Maddie McClellan of Perham.

Photos by Gene Niemi.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

#1 Waseca Wins Class A Girls' Title

#1-ranked Waseca topped #2 Perham in girls' Class A competion at the MSHSL State Meet.

Waseca tallied 81 to Perhams' 92. Mountain Lake-Butterfield-Odin was third with 121.

Four-time defending Class A champions Adrian were 4th with 154.

Find complete results HERE.

Perham's McClellan Wins Class A Crown

Perham senior Maddie McClellan out ran Chatfield ninth-grader Kayla Woltz for the MSHSL Class A girls' title today in Northfield.

The #5-ranked Woltz led #1-ranked McClellan in the race's final mile, but McClellan regained the lead and pulled away to win comfortably.

McClellan clocked 14:56; Wotz ran 15:03.

Listen to McClellan's post-race interview:

Find complete results HERE.

P-E-M Boys Edge Perham 100-102

Plainview-Elgin-Millville sneaked by #1-ranked Perham to win the MSHSL Class A boys' title 100-102.

The finish was the closest in Class A boys since 1985 when Elgin-Millville and Long Prairie tied with 78 points.

St. Cloud Cathedral, ranked #4 in Class A, finished a close third with 110.

P-E-M entered the meet ranked #3.

Find complete results HERE.

Place Wins; UMD Women Qualify for NCAA D2

We interrupt our State Meet coverage with some college news ...

Led by individual champion Morgan Place, the University of Minnesota - Duluth women qualified for the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships at the Central Regional Championship in Wayne, Nebraska today.

Place (pictured, leading), a sophomore from Ellsworth, Wisconsin, clocked 21:39 over the 6K course for a 20-second victory over runner-up Kristen McGlynn of Adams State.

UMD finished 6th as a team, earning the final qualifying spot for the D2 national meet.

Minnesota State -Mankato's men finished a non-qualifying 7th at the meet.

Find complete results HERE.

Photo by Taylor Marble.

Mubarik Musa Wins Class A Boys' Title

Worthington sophomore Mubarik Musa upset #1-ranked Paul Kouillick a senior from Blake to win the MSHSL Class A boys' title this afternoon in Northfield.

Musa, ranked #4 entering the State Meet, pulled away on the St. Olaf course's final hill at the 2.5 mile mark for the win.

Musa clocked 16:02; Kouillik ran 16:20.

Find complete results HERE.

Elk River Girls Win Close Class AA Battle

#2-ranked Elk River scored 120 points to edge #6-ranked Prior Lake with 123 and #1 Eden Prairie with 127 for the MSHSL Class AA girls' team title.

The three-piont margin between Elk River and Prior Lake ties the all-time record for close finishes in the Class AA girls meet. In 1978, Armstrong beat St. Cloud Tech 78-81; in 1980, Eden Prairie topped Armstrong 106-109; and in 1985, Alexandria topped Winona 60-63.

The Elks used a one-two punch of Emma Bates, second overall, and Abbi Aspengren, 8th, to seal the win.

Lakeville South was 4th with 144 points; Monticello finished 5th with 167.

Official results are HERE.

Shakopee's Hauger Wins Class AA Crown

Shakopee freshman Marie Hauger won the MSHSL Class AA girls' cross country title over fast-closing Elk River senior Emma Bates this morning.

Hauger, who opened up a huge early lead in the 4K race across the St. Olaf College campus, lost all but a stride of her margin in the late-going, but held on for the victory.

Hauger broke the tape in 14:41; Bates ran 14:42.

Hauger's post-race interview:

Bates' post race comments:

Official results are HERE.

Eden Prairie Tips Wayzata 47-57 in Class AA

#1-ranked Eden Prairie edged Wayzata 47-57 to win the MSHSL Class AA boys' cross country title this morning in Northfield.

Burnsville finished third with 113 points, while St. Thomas Academy and Stillwater were fourth and fifth.

Official results are HERE.

Two-time defending champion Wayzata, which won last years Class AA meet with 55 points, is the best-scoring runner-up in Class AA or a single class State Meet since Minneapolis Southwest scored 45 points in a 6-point loss to Duluth Central at State in 1949.

Eden Prairie's Bartnik Wins Class AA Title

Eden Prairie junior Aaron Bartnik, the #1-ranked individual in Class AA won a close-fought victory over Woodbury senior Marty Joyce to win the MSHSL Class AA boys' cross country title this morning in Northfield.

Bartnik, only 29th in last year's Class race, outran Joyce over a fleet final 800m. Bartnik clocked 15:56 for the win; Joyce crossed the finish line in 15:58.

Defending champion Lukas Gemar of Moorhead finished 31st.

Bartnik's post-race interview:

Joyce's post-race comments:

Official results are HERE.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Yes/No: Will Morgan Place Win Regionals?

Good runners can go a lifetime without ever winning a collegiate cross country race. Even the best runners will often take their lumps for a few years before moving to the front of the pack.

Not Morgan Place.

The UMD sophomore will run her 16th collegiate cross country race on Saturday at Wayne State. She has won all but three of these races in her career. Place will try to avenge one of these “losses” at the NCAA Division II Central Regional meet on Saturday where she placed fourth last year.

So we ask DtB fantasy players ...

Yes/No: Will Morgan Place win the DII Central Regional Cross Country meet on Saturday?

Morgan Place is undefeated against D2 runners in 2009. The only two runners that have defeated Place this year are Ayla Mitchell of UW-Oshkosh and Marie Borner of Bethel, both at the Brooks Cross Country Invite at Winneconne, WI. Place finished fourth at Regions last year and went on to finish seventh at the D2 National meet. The three runners that finished ahead of place at Regions in 2008 all were seniors.

To play our game, simply type "yes" or "no" into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us at DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 9:00 A.M. CST, Saturday, November 7. Please put your answer in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail. We will continue to offer a bonus for participants making their debut in Yes/No - a correct answer will be worth two points for any first-time players.

My answer: No.

Last week’s Yes/No question was: Will Josh Moen run faster than 2:14:30 at the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday? Moen was on track early and went through half marathon in 1:06:46, but eventually had to the abandon the race. Seven contestants answered "No" correctly. There is now a logjam in third place with five contestants tied with 18 points. The final yes/no contest of the year will be held in two weeks and will likely feature two questions.

Here's the current Yes/No top-10:

Doug Cowles - 27
Chad Bjugan - 20
Mitch Van Bruggen - 18
Lori Anne Peterson - 18
Nate Porath - 18
Ryan Aylesworth - 18
Mick Hondo - 18
Benjamin Melby - 16
Toby Hatlevig - 15
Rich Cowles - 15

You can find all of DtB's contest results and leaderboards at DtB Fantasy Corner.

Good luck and thanks for playing Yes/No on DtB!

Luke Watson Talks Marathon, Accounting

A feature on Luke Watson from the Centre Daily Times is HERE.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mead, Alford-Sullivan Earn Big Ten Honors

Gopher cross country star Hassan Mead and Minnesota native Beth Alford-Sullivan earned Big Ten accolades yesterday: Mead was named men's Cross Country Athlete of the Year, while Sullivan, the head coach at Penn State, earned women's Coach of the Year honors.

Mead repeated as Athlete of the Year after winning his second straight Big Ten men's cross country title last weekend. The Minneapolis South alum clocked 25:01 on Penn State's 5.2 mile course for the victory. Mead has earned Big Ten awards in each of his three seasons in the conference -- he was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year in 2007.

Alford-Sullivan, a Hopkins High School and University of Minnesota alum, was honored after Penn State swept the women's individual and team crowns at Big Tens. The wins were program-first for Penn State, which is currently ranked #11 in the NCAA Division I poll. Alford-Sullivan is a former University of Minnesota cross country captain.

Read about all the Big Ten cross country award winners HERE.

Conference Results Amend NCAA Rankings

Conference championship races have modified the rankings of Minnesota schools in the latest NCAA Cross Country polls as teams look ahead to regional competition.

Division I ... The University of Minnesota men returned to the national rankings thanks to their third place finish at the Big Ten Championships last weekend. The Gophers rejoned the poll, HERE, at #29.

The Gopher women dropped two spots to #17 in the women's rankings after their own third place finish at Big Tens. You can find the complete women's poll HERE.

Division II ... The University of Minnesota - Duluth women's team finds itself in the #13 position in the D2 poll, HERE, for the second straight week. The Bulldogs lost a spot in the polls last week after finishing as the runners-up to Augustana at the NSIC meet on October 24.

No Minnesota men's teams are nationally ranked in D2.

Division III ... The Carleton College women's team jumped four spots in the latest D3 women's poll, HERE, on the heels of their emphatic win at the MIAC Championships. The Knights are now ranked #16, followed by Bethel at #24 and St. Thomas at #26.

MIAC Men's champions Hamline, earned their first D3 ranking of the season, entering the rankings, HERE, at #26.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Barker Talks About Lehmkuhle and Moen

Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker offered some additional information on the ING New York City Marathon performances of his charges Jason Lehmkuhle and Josh Moen in a recent media release by the post-collegiate training group.

Lehmkuhle (pictured, in orange), of course, finished 10th at the race, running 2:14:39. He placed 5th in the USA Men's Marathon Championships held in conjunction with the race.

Moen, who established himself as one of the race's most intriguing entrants after his 46:38 Medtronic TC 10 Mile performance in October, dropped out of the NYC Marathon at mile 17.

"Jason had another strong run in New York," Barker said. "The city always seems to bring out the best in him. The field was very strong both nationally and internationally so a top ten finish again this year was a good effort."

"He wanted to run a little faster time," Barker added, "as did most of the other top runners, but there was a steady headwind for much of the race. You could tell by First Avenue (where the course is at 16 through 19 miles) that it was starting to wear people down."

Barker tried to put Moen's disappointing day into a broader perspective.

"Josh has had a great year, setting PRs in the 5000 and 10,000 on the track and in the 10 mile, but Sunday wasn't his day," Barker said. "Sometimes even when you're in great shape you wake up and you're just not going to be 100 percent and in a race like New York that will take a toll. But he'll bounce back. Meb proved that you can't keep a good man down, and Josh is a good man."

Complete results of the ING New York City Marathon can be found HERE.

Photo by Sean Hartnett.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

HS Polls: Team Sweeps at the State Meet?

A single school hasn't swept boys and girls cross country titles at the MSHSL State Meet since early in the decade, but the sports' rankers think the feat will happen this weekend in Northfield.

Eden Prairie will enter the competition as the favorites in boys' and girls' Class AA, thanks to their paired #1-rankings in the latest polls. Not since Hopkins swept both titles in the division in 2002 has a single Class AA institution been both the boys' and girls' champions.

The pollsters expect the Eden Prairie boys to get their strongest competition from Section 6AA rivals #2 Wayzata. Eden Prairie topped Wayzata 25-41 at sections. Stillwater is ranked #3, followed by White Bear Lake and Burnsville.

The EP girls should expect competition from #2 Elk River, which boasts two individuals ranked in the state's top-5, #3 Roseville, #4 Shakopee, and #5 Lakeville South.

A Class A Sweep? ... The first team sweep in Class A since 2003 could be in the works too. Perhams' boys' and girls' team have topped the Class A polls for much of the season, although the Waseca's girls' 54-point win over Fairmont in Section 2A vaulted them to the top of the final rankings.

The Perham girls are #2 and four-time defending champions Adrian is ranked #3.

Perham's boys still reside atop their poll, ahead of #2 Minnehaha Academy, and #3 Plainview-Elgin-Millville.

In 2003 Staples-Motley's program won both team titles in Class A.

Individually ... The top runners in the state, according to the pollsters, remain unchanged in recent weeks.

Aaron Bartnik of Eden Prairie and Maria Hauger of Shakopee top Class AA, while Paul Koullick of the Blake School and Maddie McClellan of Perham top Class A.

Find full Class AA rankings below.

Find complete Class A rankings HERE.

Class AA Boys

1 Eden Prairie
2 Wayzata
3 Stillwater
4 White Bear Lake
5 Burnsville
6 Moorhead
7 Alexandria
8 Edina
9 St. Thomas Academy
10 Lakeville North
11 Totino Grace
12 Willmar

1 Aaron Bartnik 11 Eden Prairie
2 Jake Sandry 12 Bloomington Jefferson
3 Marty Joyce 12 Woodbury
4 Jon-Michael Brandt 12 Winona
5 Adam Zutz 11 St. Francis
6 Trent Lusignan 11 Shakopee
7 Bryant Blahnik 11 Red Wing
8 Lukas Gemar 11 Moorhead
9 Oliver Haugland 12 Wayzata
10 Cole O'Brien 10 Burnsville
11 Blayne Dulian 12 Coon Rapids
12 Kyle Bratrud 11 Eden Prairie

Class AA Girls

1 Eden Prairie
2 Elk River
3 Roseville
4 Shakopee
5 Lakeville South
6 Prior Lake
7 Moorhead
8 Monticello
9 Lakeville North
10 Minnetonka
11 Hopkins
12 Totino Grace

1 Maria Hauger, 9, Shakopee
2 Emma Bates, 12, Elk River
3 Heidi Peterson, 11, Sartell
4 Megan Platner, 11, Eden Prairie
5 Abbi Asprengren, 11, Elk River
6 Erica Seidenkranz, 10, Monticello
7 Allison Cordes, 9, Roseville Area
8 Taylor Perkins, 9, Lakeville North
9 Becca Dyson, 11, Roseville Area
10 Chrissy Monson, 9, Albert Lea
11 Sharmila Ahmed, 11, Burnsville
12 Jamie Piepenburg, 10, Alexandria

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mead Wins Second Straight Big Ten Title

University of Minnesota junior Hassan Mead won his second straight Big Ten cross country title, running 25:01 on Penn State's 5.2 mile course on Sunday.

Both Gopher teams finished third in the meet.

Penn State won the women's title with 71 points, Illinois was runner-up with 77, and the Gopher women tallied 80.

The Gopher women were the two-time defending champs in the contest. The team was led by Megan Duwell who finished third overall in 20:23.

Wisconsin won its 11th-straight men's title with 26 points. Ohio State was second with 91 and the Gophers scored 97. The result matches the Gopher men's finish last year at the meet.

With his individual victory, Mead joins Gopher legends Fred Watson and Garry Bjorklund as the only University of Minnesota harriers to have won multiple Big Ten titles. Watson (1913-15) and Bjorklund (1969-71) won three-straight titles.

Find complete men's results HERE.

Find complete women's results HERE. (Link fixed)