Local Nortland Cross Country Coaches React to Gophers Cutting Men’s Indoor Track and Field
South Ridge coach Jeremy Polson ran cross country and track at the University of Minnesota from 1996 to 2001 and North Shore coach Dan Hebl ran there from 1985 to 1990.
DULUTH, Minn. – Last week, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents officially voted to cut three men’s sports, including indoor track and field. That news hits a little close to home for two Northland cross country coaches who also competed for the Gophers.
South Ridge coach Jeremy Polson ran cross country and track at the University of Minnesota from 1996 to 2001 and North Shore coach Dan Hebl ran there from 1985 to 1990. Both said they felt shocked to see their alma mater cut a program they competed in, especially with both of them growing up close to the main campus.
“Having a Big Ten, a Division I university in your state that you can compete for, represent the entire state. Started with shock and then I started to get angry about it,” Hebl said.
“Thinking about how fortunate I was that I got to do the whole nine yards: the three seasons, the scholarship opportunity and the education and everything with it and I didn’t lose any of this,” Polson added.
The board was also voting to cut men’s outdoor track and field but last minute decided to keep it. But the decision to cut indoor still gives those Gophers athletes one less season to compete.
“I’m sure it’s going to put them in a little bit of a spot for recruiting and if you’re deciding between schools and you don’t get to have one of the three seasons. It would have been horrible without any track, to try to have a cross country program but not give those kids, because all of those cross country kids are distance runners in track so that would have been terrible,” Hebl said.
The University of Minnesota will also cut men’s gymnastics and men’s tennis. Those cuts will happen at the end of the academic year.