Star runner Mead out for season

FILE PHOTO

Jules Ameel

FILE PHOTO

Derek Wetmore

MinnesotaâÄôs top distance runner, Hassan Mead, will miss the entire cross country season after his lung collapsed while running earlier this month, head coach Steve Plasencia confirmed Monday. Mead was taken to the hospital Sept. 7 and discharged only recently. He was walking around without assistance at Bierman Field Athletic Building on Monday. A six-time All-American, Mead will take a medical redshirt this season to preserve his year of eligibility. He has also struggled with a nagging Achilles tendon injury from 2009 that kept him out of both the indoor and outdoor track seasons. There is no timetable for his return. âÄúWe just want him to get back to his general health, and then we can start asking questions about the athletics,âÄù Plasencia said. âÄúHe needs to take care of himself right now. HeâÄôs part of our family here.âÄù It was already unclear if he would return this season due to the Achilles injury, which Plasencia once compared to a âÄúpuzzleâÄù because the solutions seem obvious in hindsight, but took a long time to reach. Even before the recent setback, it was a frustrating process for the five-time Big Ten champion. âÄúIt was frustrating for myself, the organization and my teammates,âÄù Mead told the Daily in August. Plasencia said Monday that âÄúWe werenâÄôt sure with the Achilles tendon what we were going to do. He was progressing OK, but he couldnâÄôt stand a setback.âÄù Now, Plasencia said, âÄúHeâÄôs had a significant setback.âÄù Mead and coaches made the decision prior to this weekendâÄôs Roy Griak Invitational, where the team will get an early measure of where it stands without Mead âÄî last yearâÄôs winner. âÄúWeâÄôre not panicking,âÄù Plasencia said. âÄúWe donâÄôt feel like, âÄòHassan is done, woe is us.âÄô âÄù He added: âÄúGiven our unique circumstances with Hassan being out for the season, we need to do whatever we can to put the most competitive squad out on the field that we can muster.âÄù