Track and field teams gear up for Big Tens

Both Minnesota’s men’s and women’s teams held home events.

Seven Minnesota men’s track athletes captured first-place finishes Friday night at the Snowshoe Open held in the University Field House. The open event saw participants from several area schools.

Minnesota had three runners win titles on the track. Robb Merritt took the top honor in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.83 seconds while the Gophers’ Ben Taylor finished third. In the 400-meter dash Aaron Buzard placed first with a time of 48.47. Vince Donahoe ran to a first-place finish in the 600-meter dash with a time of 1:20.98.

The Gophers also claimed the top prize in four field events. Pat Akpaette reached a personal-best 49 feet and 8 1/4 inches in the triple jump. Shot putter Karl Erickson finished at the top with a throw of 59-4 1/4. Curt Schoenfelder won the weight throw of 62-1 while teammate Andy Tilstra placed second with 58-4 3/4. In the high jump, the Gophers took the top four spots, with John Albert leading the way, clearing 6-11 1/2.

Meanwhile, sophomore Elizabeth Alabi took first place in the weight throw and shot put competition, beating both of her previous best marks at Saturday’s Parent’s Day Open women’s track and field meet at the University Field House. She had a weight throw distance of 53-11 3/4 and a shot put distance of 48-11 1/2.

The Gophers held many other first place spots. Freshman Kadian Douglas took first place at her first time competing in the 60-meter dash this season. Sophomore Carly Emil had the top time in the 3,000-meter run with 10:18.18, and was followed by juniors Kim Magee and Paula Hoffert who took third and fourth place.

Senior Rachel Schutz, freshman Mollie Hupp and junior Melissa Steele took the top three spots in the 600-meter dash. The three runners all beat their best times of the season thus far. Freshman Candace Borgen tied for first with fellow Minnesota se nior Rachel Kuhn in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 3:02.04. The Gophers also scored well in the mile run in which eight of the top 10 runners were from Minnesota.

Women’s tennis

Minnesota’s women’s tennis team defeated Drake 5-2 on Saturday in Rochester, Minn., to pick up its first victory of the season. The Gophers won the doubles point for the first time this year and went 4-2 in singles to improve to 1-4 on the season.

Minnesota opened the match with a 2-1 mark in doubles. The No. 1 team of Angela Buergis and Nischela Reddy downed Annali de Bruyn and Zorana Stefanovic, 8-4. Ida Malmberg and Lindsay Risebrough followed with an 8-6 win at No. 2 over Eveline Rusdianto and Cheen Alkahatib.

In singles play, Minnesota picked up wins at No. 1 through No. 4 to cruise to the dual victory. Buergis dropped de Bruyn at No. 1, 6-4, 6-2, to improve to 4-1 on the season. At No. 2 Reddy downed Stefanovic in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, and Malmberg made quick work of Rusdianto with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 3. Wrapping up the singles wins was Risebrough’s 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Rebekah Thomas.