Obleman leads U to wins

Ryan Schuster

The Gophers men’s cross country squad faces a tough challenge this season as it tries to improve on last year’s ninth-place finish in the Big Ten.
However, Minnesota has the components to have a successful season in 1996.
The Gophers harriers are led by captain and three-year letterwinner Rick Obleman, the lone senior on the team.
Obleman finished first for Minnesota and 25th overall at last year’s conference cross country meet last year.
So far this fall he has placed first and second respectively at the team’s opening two meets.
“Obleman is running well right now,” said new head coach Steve Plasencia. “Rick is a leader and he’s tough.”
The native of Regina, Saskatchewan, has put up times of 25:40 and 25:53 on the standard 8,000-meter course.
After Obleman, the team will look to juniors Tony Riter and Allen Broderius, and sophomores Todd Landgraff, Charles McClure, Ron Hoffner and Nathaniel Clay for leadership.
Riter has been a steady runner for the Gophers. He has placed sixth and fourth in the first two meets with times of 26:22 and 26:23.
However, the other five runners are all competing for the team’s third through 10th places.
Through the first two meets of the season, Plasencia said the biggest surprise has been the inspired running by the team’s freshmen.
Half of this year’s roster is made up of first-year runners, and early on they are helping to carry the team.
“So far (the freshmen) seem to be a group of guys that work hard,” Plasencia said. “I feel real good about them.”
Jeremy Polson has stepped up, making a quick transition from high school. He has become the cross country squad’s number-two runner behind Obleman, as his two third-place finishes attest.
“Polson is running really well so far this year,” said Obleman. “He kind of surprised me because he’s doing this good at his age.”
Freshmen Chris Anderson has also been impressive.
Chris Rogers, a freshmen from Moorhead, Minn., will redshirt this season, leaving 13 runners competing for 12 spots on the traveling team.
Minnesota has won both of it’s first two meets, starting the season strong.
On Sept. 7, Minnesota beat Northern Iowa 32-26 at the University Les Bolstad Golf Course.
A week later, Obleman and company outran the competition, beating host and runner-up Minnesota–Duluth by more than 30 points (52-21).
On Saturday the Gophers will face their first true test of the season at the Roy Griak Invitational. The event will be held at the Les Bolstad Golf Course and Plasencia expects as many as 45 teams to compete in the two divisions.