Refreshed, Grumstrup sets a lofty goal

Adam Fink

There wasn’t any big city noise, pressure of school, or even working plumbing.

But a three-week trip to a cabin in north central Colorado this summer was just what Minnesota cross country runner Erik Grumstrup needed.

With three of his teammates, Grumstrup planned his summer around July’s trip to an altitude of 8,800-feet as a time to train, but more importantly, get away from the hectic college life.

“We lived a simple life,” Grumstrup said. “It’s not bad to be caught up in everything, but it’s nice to get away. It puts everything in perspective.”

With a refreshed mindset, Grumstrup is looking forward to his second season at Minnesota and his vision is simple: a top-50 finish at the NCAA Championships.

It’s a bold goal, considering over 200 runners compete at the event and Grumstrup finished 177th last season.

“I really want to do well there,” the chemistry major said. “I am happy with what I have done, but I can do better.”

This is Grumstrup’s character, a 19-year-old full of ambition who has the talent and experience to live up to his lofty standards.

Entering Minnesota as the three-time South Dakota high school cross country runner of the year didn’t prepare Grumstrup for the grind of collegiate competition, but did give him an advantage for his rookie season.

Grumstrup competed in all seven meets, finishing in the Gophers top three at five of the races. The Black Hawk, S.D., native competed in the most meets among the Gophers five freshmen as he worked at making the transition to college running.

At the Big Ten meet he ran a career-best in the 8,000-meter with a time of 24 minutes and 35 seconds. In addition, he was named to the all-region team after competing in the Midwest Regional.

All this for a guy the Gophers were considering redshirting after last year’s Roy Griak Invitational.

“We knew he could make an immediate impact,” cross country coach Steve Plasencia said. “He is more prepared for this season after running all of last year than he would be if he hadn’t done any meet running.”

Grumstrup has already showed his potential this season. In the teams’ only meet of the season, the Gophers scholar athlete finished as Minnesota’s top runner, 12th overall.

It marked the first time Grumstrup has been alone at the top spot of the Gophers lineup.

A year wiser, Grumstrup is in the best shape of his life and prepared for the season.

“The main thing is understanding what you are getting into and being mentally prepared for it,” Grumstrup said. “The maturity and experience are in place. I know what I am capable of.”

Griak approaching

the Roy Griak Invitational is Saturday at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul.

Over 2,400 runners and 200 teams are entered in one of the day’s seven races.

The Gophers men’s and women’s cross country competition field features numerous teams ranked in the top-25.

The day begins at 9 a.m.