Men’s CC preps for next week’s Big Tens

by Ryan Schuster

As the weather in Minnesota gets colder, the Gophers men’s cross country team is just starting to heat up.
The Gophers are hoping that their good showing last Saturday will carry them through this weekend’s meet, and help them catch fire at the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 2.
Minnesota took third place out of 12 teams last weekend at the Iowa State Memorial Classic, placing 11 runners in the top 65.
“The distance of five (kilometers) will be conducive for us at the Big Ten meet. It’s one of the laws of running,” Plasencia said, smiling and raising his voice. “It’s always harder to run faster.”
But Plasencia is quick to stress the importance of focusing on this weekend and not looking ahead to the Big Tens.
On Saturday at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St.Paul the Gophers will host the Marathon Sports 5-kilometer race. The meet will be open to non-collegiate athletes, as well as other schools. Minnesota plans to use the short race as a tool to train on interval speeds for the Big Tens.
“Our goal this weekend will be just to start preparing and resting up for the Big Tens in two weeks,” said junior runner Tony Riter.
The Gophers plan to run their entire team at the meet, including several track athletes. Track coach Phil Lundin is also planning to run in the competition on Saturday. “Bring your calendar,” Lundin quipped.
Another runner who will be trying to brush away the cobwebs this weekend is transfer Mike Stoick, who will be making only his second appearance for Minnesota.
The former South Dakota student transferred to Minnesota this fall after his freshman year, and made his Gophers running debut last weekend. He placed 46th at Iowa State in 27 minutes, 38 seconds on the 8,000-meter course.
“He’s not in the best physical shape,” Plasencia said. “But, I think he’s somebody we hope is going to contribute to us in the future.”
Even if the competition isn’t terribly stiff this weekend, the Gophers will look to turn up the heat on their season.