Obleman leads U on and off the CC course

by Ryan Schuster

There’s not much else to do in Regina, Saskatchewan but play sports. It is located 350 miles west of Winnipeg, 450 miles east of Calgary and almost 700 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Senior cross country captain Rick Obleman, who grew up in Regina, knew that sports would always be a part of his life. He lettered in hockey, football, baseball, wrestling, track and cross country at Robert Usher Collegiate High School in southern Canada.
But cross country and track were by far his best sports. Obleman won Provincial titles in the 800-, 1,500- and 3,000-meter events in track. In cross country he captured the Canadian Junior National cross country championship.
Since becoming a member of the men’s track and field and cross country teams, Obleman has been a leader on and off the field.
During cross country practice, Obleman can be seen out in front of the pack leading the team on its daily runs.
“(Leading team runs) is more due to leadership than to ability,” Obleman said. “I’m looked upon as a team leader, or a captain of the team.”
A leader is a good way to describe how Obleman performed during the 1995 cross country season. He was the Gopher’s top finisher in every meet last year, including his 25th-place showing at the 1995 Big Ten championships.
“He brings some experience, a sense of competition and maturity to the team,” said men’s cross country coach Steve Plasencia.
So far this season, Obleman has continued to dominate on the course. He has placed first and second at Minnesota’s first two meets in 1996, leading the Gophers to victories in both meets.
The 21-year-old kinesiology major’s goals for this season are for the men’s cross country team to have a fifth or sixth-place finish in the Big Ten and for him to receive a berth at the NCAA cross country meet.
Off the field, he has a 3.0 grade-point average and has been a four-time academic All-Big Ten selection in cross country and track.
It’s obvious that Obleman has a love for the sport that drives him to be competitive in it.
“There’s not much else I’d rather be doing than running,” Obleman said. “Whatever you’re doing you have to do the best you can, and I’ll go after it on the course.”
Obleman may be entrenched now as a catalyst on the men’s cross country squad, but it wasn’t always this way. Four years ago he faced the transition from high school running in Canada to Division I competition in the Big Ten.
“When I first came down here I couldn’t believe the hype,” Obleman said. “Running isn’t too big of a thing where I came from.”
Now, he has made the adjustment and left his mark on Minnesota running.