Mensing running from course to lab

a trend that the most publicized athletes are sometimes the ones who donâÄôt stay long enough to graduate. ThatâÄôs what is so special about Minnesota cross country runner Felicitas Mensing . The Neuhausen, Germany native graduated in three years from Coastal Carolina with a 4.0 in applied mathematics, and thenâĦshe came back to Minnesota to earn a masterâÄôs degree in mechanical engineering. But after earning the Big South conference record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Mensing wasnâÄôt ready to hang up her running shoes yet. âÄúI definitely wanted to compete. That was one of the reasons I came here,âÄù Mensing said. âÄúLooking at the academic side, the [mechanical engineering] program is in the top 12 in the country, so that was a positive as well.âÄù Now in her first semester at Minnesota, Mensing splits her time between researching in the lab and competing with the womenâÄôs cross country team. âÄúI basically run back and forth between the two,âÄù Mensing said. âÄúI think thereâÄôs a good balance though, running keeps me from getting frustrated with homework. I go out and run and then come back and focus.âÄù The 24-year old runner, who wants to work in the automotive industry after graduating from the University, has impressed Gophers coach Gary Wilson with her talents on and off the course. âÄúSheâÄôs a very, very, very smart kid,âÄù Wilson said. âÄúSheâÄôs just one of those steadying forces. SheâÄôs very mature; sheâÄôs been around the block.âÄù As part of the nationâÄôs largest cross country team, MensingâÄôs position on the team wasnâÄôt clear until she started consistently factoring into the Gophers team scores. MensingâÄôs performances this season are at least partially due to her status with the Gophers according to assistant coach Sarah Hesser . âÄúAt her old school, she was kind of relied upon to be the No. 1 runner and with that comes quite a bit of outside pressure,âÄù Hesser said. âÄúWhereas here coming in, she got a little less pressure and just run the way sheâÄôs going to run and be our third, fourth, fifth, sixth runner.âÄù MensingâÄôs contribution this season is surprising to many including her. âÄúActually, my goal for the season was to make the Big Ten team, so basically to be somewhere in the top ten [on the Gophers roster],âÄù Mensing said. âÄúI didnâÄôt expect to run right up there with the girls âÄì weâÄôre so close in the top five. Any of us can be anywhere from about two to six.âÄù She did that and more. Two weeks later, Mensing finished 17th at the NCAA Midwest Region championships to help the Gophers retain their team title. Next week, Mensing and the Gophers will compete at the NCAA championship, where the scholar-athlete said she looks for the team to continue its success. âÄúIf we work together and run at the same pace, I think we can really do well.âÄù