It would be a shame if all of our readers weren’t informed of the fact that the Minnesota Golden Gophers recently won the 2009 Big Ten Indoor Championship in Track and Field. And when I say they won, I mean the men and the women won! The last time a team achieved the feat of claiming both titles was last century (1997 University of Wisconsin).
Leading this feat for the men’s team was a young (when I say young, I mean born in 1989…people born in 1989 are 20-years-old now…time is something else) Somalian man by the name of Hassan Mead. If his name is not terribly familiar, it should be. Mead’s track and field prowess was groomed at none other than Minneapolis South High School, where he graduated in 2006. At the 2009 Big Ten Indoor Championships, Mead became the first Gopher man to capture two event championship titles since 1999. The fact that those two events were the 3,000m and 5,000m races undoubtedly makes both you and I tired just thinking about it.
Through the leadership of Mead, the Men’s Gopher Track team blew away the Big Ten Conference scoring 135 points. The next closest team was the University of Michigan with 93 points.
Another local high school star adding to the Gopher Men’s point total was Ibrahim Kabia. Kabia is a 2004 graduate of Champlain Park High School and holds the state high school record of 10.49 seconds in the 100m dash. At the Big Ten Indoor Championshi, Kabia finished second in the 60m dash, but it took the second best time in the Championships history for Adam Harris of Michigan to beat him. Kabia also competed in the 200m dash, but painfully missed the finals by .005seconds (that’s 5 one-thousandths of a second…I feel for you young Bro.). Nonetheless, both Kabia and Mead are two of our local stars who are able to stand proud for the rest of their lives in saying that they were a major part of bringing historic championship glory to the state’s most celebrated university.
As for the Gopher Women’s team, they won the conference championship meet in an exciting squeaker, but that may have been expected in that they were the reigning champions for 2007 and 2008, and thus the other powerful Big 10 teams were all aiming to knock them from their perch. No dice! Three-Peat baby!
The exciting competition came down to the final race, the 4x400m relay. Anybody who loves track loves the excitement of a long meet coming down to this final relay event. That is about as exciting as it gets in sports. Naturally, there was some homegrown talent that helped to bring home the title through a fourth place finish in that final event. Chioma Omeoga, a graduate of Irondale High School was that person. Omeoga was a 2004 state champion in the 200meter dash.
Former Gatorade Minnesota Girls Track Athlete of the Year Kylie Peterson of Apple Valley High School also added to the massive depth in scoring by the Gophers by placing third in the 60meter dash.
Both the Men’s and Women’s teams are well into their outdoor seasons now, so certainly check the Gopher Athletics website to catch one of their home meets. No better way to enjoy a nice day outdoors in Minnesota than to sit, munch on some Twizzlers and a hot dog, and watch somebody else run (Lol!). Take a few city kids with you while you’re at it. A little inspiration never hurt anyone.