Kaitlyn Long wins NCAA weight throw title

Long became the second athlete in program history to win a national title.

Kaleb Medhanie

Senior Kaitlyn Long had herself a storybook indoor season.

Six Gophers competed at the NCAA championships in College Station, Texas on Friday and Saturday. Five received All-America honors, including Long, who won the NCAA weight throw title.

“They are all great, young women,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “It was a special couple of days and things came together well. They represented the university well and their teammates well. It was just fun.”

This is Long’s first year at Minnesota. She competed the previous three years at the Division II Winona state. She won the weight throw title in two of those three years.

After fouling on her first two attempts in weight throw, Long qualified into the final round with her throw of 72 feet, 8 inches. She would stay at fifth during the final round, up until her winning throw at 76 feet, five inches in the last round. She finished first team All-American and became the second national champion in Gophers women’s track and field history.

“This was probably my most meaningful win, especially saving it until my very last throw,” Long said. “I never thought I would be at a Division I school.”

Senior Agnes Esser threw for 68 feet, 6 inches, an 11th-place finish that awarded her second team All-American for the second year in a row. At her first appearance in the national championship, junior Nayoka Clunis earned second team All-American by finishing 16th in weight throw.

Karlie Place received second team All-American in the pole vault. She finished twelfth with a mark of 4.21 meters in her debut at the national championships.

Kiley Sabin finished 15th in the shot put last season, receiving second team All-American accolades. She finished first-team All-American this year.

Sabin throw 56 feet, 3 inches, a season-best, to get in her into fifth, which beat her seeding.

“It just feels really good, coming in as a freshman I didn’t really know where I would be at,” Sabin said. “It’s just kinda awesome to see the hard work pay off.”