Blankenship wins Fred O. Watson Award

Derek Wetmore

Men’s cross country All-American Ben Blankenship was named the Fred O. Watson award winner Sunday at the team’s end-of-season banquet.

The award represents the most valuable runner on the season as voted by members of the team. Along with his All-America honors, Blankenship also earned All-Midwest Region honors and All-Big Ten First Team.

At the banquet, the Minnesota “M” club awarded Blankenship, Mike Torchia and Mike McFarland with “M” pins. They also handed first-time varsity letterwinners Kevin Lachowitzer, Andrew Larson, John Simons and Erik Truedson their letterjackets.

Blankenship will now turn to the track, where he owns the school mile record. The indoor track and field season begins over break with the Gophers hosting a pair of meets prior to spring semester. The team will host the Northwest Open Jan. 8 and the Minnesota Open Jan. 15. Head coach Steve Plasencia has his team geared up looking to defend his four straight titles, while looking to three-peat indoors. 

The women’s cross country banquet is scheduled for Jan. 16.