Gophers come in sixth at Big Ten Championships

Obsa Ali led the team with a time of 24:19.7 and an eighth place finish in the 8 kilometer race.

Senior Obsa Ali competes during the Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Courtney Deutz, Daily File Photo

Senior Obsa Ali competes during the Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Anthony Bryant

After their last performance propelled the team into the rankings, the Gophers looked to keep that momentum alive.

The No. 18 Gophers finished sixth overall out of 12 teams at the 2017 Big Ten Championships at the IU Championship Cross Country Course in Bloomington, Indiana Sunday. Obsa Ali led the team with a time of 24:19.7 and an eighth-place finish in the 8 kilometer race.

“We didn’t have the race we hoped for,” said head coach Steve Plasencia. “We didn’t get up in the field early and we had a lot of ground to make up for it. But I don’t ever think it’s one thing when things don’t go particularly well, it’s usually a combination of things.”

Redshirt freshman Alec Basten followed Obsa Ali with a time of 24:54.8 in 26th place. Connor Olson (24:59.0), Hamza Ali (25:03.4), and Evan Ferlic (25:12.0) rounded out the scoring for the Gophers with 29th, 34th, and 46th place finishes, respectively. Though the team may not have had the race it hoped for, Plasencia said the team will have to regroup to move forward.

“We weren’t that far away,” Plasencia said. “We’re going to have to quickly put this one behind us and get ready for the next big meet. I think everybody’s got to go back, coaching staff included, and reevaluate our approach.”

No. 13 Michigan finished first overall with 71 points. No. 15 Michigan St. (82), Wisconsin (88), Illinois (113), and Purdue (133) rounded out the top five.

The Gophers will compete at the Fall Finale in Collegeville, Minnesota Nov. 3. The following week the team will journey down to Ames, Iowa for the 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional race Nov. 10, where they’ll look to bounce back.

“History in running and history in sports says your last bad performance breeds the next good one,” Plasencia said. “We’re going to see if we can make that happen.”