Men’s team earns three titles in Virginia

The women’s team had 11 marks at the meet that rank in the school’s top 10.

Minnesotas Luca Wieland competes in hurdles on Jan. 18, 2014, at the University Fieldhouse.

Image by Patrica Grover, Daily File Photo

Minnesota’s Luca Wieland competes in hurdles on Jan. 18, 2014, at the University Fieldhouse.

by Ryan Falk

The University of Minnesota men’s track and field team won three titles at the Virginia Challenge over the weekend, thanks to strong performances by its veterans.
Junior Luca Wieland, senior Sean Donnelly and redshirt sophomore Ryan Lockard were Minnesota’s three event winners. 
“I think that Sean Donnelly and Luca are guys we’ve come to lean on,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “Ryan has been a guy who’s progressed over time. It shows guys that good performances breed excitement.” 
Wieland won the long jump with a distance of 7.91 meters to set a Virginia Challenge record.
The junior’s performance was not only a meet record but is also the best in the Big Ten and tied for fifth in the nation this year as of Sunday. Wieland also moved into second all-time in program history for the event with his jump.
Donnelly won the hammer throw title at the meet with a distance of 73.31 meters. The performance was his second best of the season and also ranks second in Minnesota history.
“I’m happy with my performance [over the weekend],” Donnelly said. “Competed against some good competition, and I threw consistently.”
Lockard also set a meet record with his performance in the high jump.
The Apple Valley, Minn., native won the event with a height of 2.20 meters.
Women set 11 top-10 program marksThe Gophers women’s track and field team set 11 top-10 program marks at the Virginia Challenge over the weekend, with six coming on Saturday alone.
“They competed well as a team,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “We’re moving in the direction we want as a team.”
Junior Kimberly Golding broke her own program record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.28 seconds at the meet.
Sophomore Emma Spagnola also set a career-best hurdles time, finishing the 400-meter event in 58.97 seconds to move to sixth in program history.
Spagnola also was a part of Minnesota’s 4×400-meter relay team, which ran a season-best time of 3:39.23 at the meet to move into eighth all-time in the event in program history.
In the field events, junior Nicolle Murphy threw a career-best 53.96 meters in the javelin throw to move into fourth place in school history.
Sophomore Heta Tuuri finished second in the high jump with a jump of 1.76 meters, setting an outdoor personal best and tying her for third in program history.
Freshman Taylor Wiebke also set a personal best in the high jump with a mark of 1.71 meters.