Hassan Mead qualifies for NCAA championships

Mead and Harun Abda have the country’s fastest time in two events.

Megan Ryan

 

Hassan Mead ran to a third-place finish Friday in the 5,000-meter run at the FloTrack Husky Invite in Seattle, qualifying him for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Third place is impressive for Mead, considering he finished behind two professionals.

Mead’s time of 13:33.42 not only qualifies him for his first NCAA Indoor Championships in two years but is also the fastest time in the nation this year.

“It’s real good knowing that I’ve punched my ticket to nationals,” Mead said. “For me, this was the last meet [before Big Ten]. From now it’s getting ready for Big Ten and doing a couple of hard trainings until then.”

Mead missed more than a year battling an Achilles injury and a subsequent collapsed lung before making a full recovery last May.

“His performance was the vintage, old Hassan [from] before he went through the injury streak,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “He definitely looked very good.”

Mead was the highlight on the West coast, but in Ames, Iowa, where the rest of the team competed at the Iowa State Classic, two other runners stole the spotlight.

Harun Abda and John Holton went one-two in the 600-yard dash with times of 1:7.66 and 1:9.99, respectively.

Abda’s time is the fastest time in the country this year. Holton’s was his lifetime best.

“We’re excited for both of those guys and their overall development,” assistant coach Paul Thornton said. “It truly was a remarkable performance.”

The 600-yard is not an NCAA or Big Ten event, and it is only run at Big 12 meets. The similar 600-meter race is also not run at the NCAA meet, but it is at Big Ten meets.

“Harun is the two-time defending champion in the 600-meters at the Big Ten championships, and last year John was fourth, so it’s definitely an event that fits the training in which they are doing, and it definitely fits them,” Thornton said.

The two also competed again just a few hours later in the 4×400-meter relay with relay teammates Kevin Bradley and David Pachuta. The team finished third behind Mississippi State and Nebraska but clocked a season-best time of 3:9 flat.

The men’s team returns home next weekend for the Snowshoe Open.

Notes

The women’s team also participated in the Iowa State Classic.

Chimerem Okoroji was the highest finisher for the Gophers. She placed fourth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.63 seconds.

Ashlie Decker, Laura Docherty, Katie Moraczewski and Rachel Drake all set personal records in the mile run.

Heather Brunn recorded her personal best in the 800-meter run. Molly Kayfes did likewise in the 3,000-meter run.

The 4×400-meter relay team of Megan Geyen, Chidera Obasih, Jessica Waldvogel and Sharyn Dahl earned a season-best time.

The women host their last home meet of the season next weekend at the Parents Day Open.