Seth Eliason had missed running with his high school teammates, Owen Hoeft and Hunter Staack.
The Hopkins, Minnesota native spent a year in Washington, D.C. and competed for the Georgetown Hoyas before deciding to transfer home to the Gophers, reuniting with his old teammates in the process.
As Eliason is a three-time Minnesota high school state champion, several of Eliason’s teammates on the Minnesota men’s cross country team were familiar competition. In high school, he ran in the same conference as fellow Minnesota runners Connor Olson, Patrick Roos and Jack Manderscheid.
Looking for experience away from his home state after high school, Eliason committed to the Big East Conference’s Georgetown University. It was an attempt to branch outside Eliason’s comfort zone, but reflecting on it now, he said it was a difficult experience.
“I didn’t really click with the East-Coast lifestyle,” Eliason said. “I didn’t really click with the big city. I like the ‘Minnesota nice’ mentality.”
He said he had chemistry issues with the team.
“There were also things on the team that didn’t click, I didn’t click with the guys as well as I was hoping,” said Eliason. “It’s tough to go from a high school where I really enjoyed my time and loved the guys on the team, whereas at Georgetown, it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping [for].”
Back in Minnesota on a team he can mesh with, Eliason looks to be a major player for the Gophers as they try to earn a spot at the NCAA National Championships meet. Nevertheless, Eliason will not forget what he had to persevere through to get where he is today.
“I think last year was the hardest year in general for me to overcome. I started to lose a little motivation to keep the running going; distance running can be a tough sport mentally — having to go out there and run mile after mile after mile. Not enjoying the process as much last year was really tough for me, I wasn’t as happy to go out and be with the team and to grind out those hard days,” he said.
Head coach Steve Plasencia is counting on Eliason to have an impact the team this year. In Eliason’s first race for the maroon and gold, the redshirt freshman came in seventh place overall at the Greeno/Dirksen Invitational. A time of 25:12.6 made him the third-fastest runner for Minnesota at the meet.
“I’ve been impressed with his attitude since he came in,” Plasencia said. “He seems to be having fun with the group and it feels like a natural fit. He’s got a couple of high school teammates that are also on the squad … I think he’ll be impactful, and we’re just happy that he is back.”