Women’s track finish 13th at NCAAs, best finish in school history

Brian Deutsch

Minnesota junior Heather Dorniden picked up her school-record seventh All-American nod and junior Liz Roehrig was the runner-up in the heptathlon this weekend as the Gophers women’s track and field team claimed 13th – its highest finish ever – at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dorniden’s time of 2:05.56 in the 800 meters was good for fifth in the event – high enough to garner another All-American nod and break the Inver Grove Heights native’s tie with thrower Rachel Lewis (1988-1991) for the most All-Americans as a member of the Gophers.

Michigan junior Geena Gall won the 800 meters event with a time of 2:03.91.

Roehrig tied the school record for highest record in any event when she totaled 5,811 points in the heptathlon.

“I’m excited with my finish. It was something I knew I could do and I didn’t even have an amazing meet. I came in and did what I could and I’m happy with how it turned out,” Roehrig said of her performance.

Arizona State senior Jacquelyn Johnson walked away with her fourth heptathlon title after scoring 2,053 points.

Minnesota senior Ruby Radocaj also earned All-American honors with her sixth-place throw of 172-0 in the javelin.

Louisiana State took home the NCAA Championship when the Tigers finished second in the 4×400 relay – the final event of the weekend – to break a 59-point tie with defending champion Arizona State.

With a final score of 67 points, LSU picked up its first NCAA Outdoor Track Championship since 2003.

Mead runs sixth in 5,000

True freshman Hassan Mead set a new Minnesota record and earned All-American honors when he crossed the finish line at 13:44.30, giving the runner a sixth-place finish in the 5,000 meters.

“It was exactly the type of race I was hoping for,” Mead said. “The pace was fast, not like Thursday’s trial. I was hoping we’d get out there and really run, and we did.”

Mead’s time breaks former Gophers runner Andrew Carlson’s record of 13:44.64 and the freshman also becomes Minnesota’s first All-American in the event since current Gophers assistant coach Steve Plasencia did it in 1977.

Florida State won its third-straight team title at the Outdoor Championships when senior Walter Dix sprinted to first in the 200 meter dash, his eighth individual national championship.

Dix earned his 18th All-American honor with his twilight performance.

“It never gets old,” Seminoles coach Bob Braman told Seminoles.com, speaking of his team’s three-peat performance. “The first one maybe a little bit more sweeter because you don’t know if you’re ever going to do it. We had gotten relatively close a couple of times. They’re agonizing because the standard is so high, but at the end we’re so proud; we come back home, it’s such a big thing for Florida State and Tallahassee.”

Track briefs

Senior Andrea Smith finished ninth in the pole vault with a height of 13-1 1/2. In two previous trips to nationals, Smith failed to clear the bar.

“It was a long couple of days waiting in the hotel,” said Smith, who leaves Minnesota with the second-highest vault in school history. “I was nervous at the opening height, but the next one felt good. I was glad I made it this far.”

Junior Jamie Cheever placed 11th in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, the first time she has reached an individual NCAA Championship final. Cheever clocked a time of 10:15.31.

Sophomore R.J. McGinnis finished 16th in the decathlon with a score of 7,019.

In his NCAA Championship debut, sophomore thrower Aaron Studt fouled all three of his attempts in the shot put preliminaries.

Senior Liz Podominick’s throw in the women’s shot put competition was not enough to move on.

The Gophers men’s team totaled three points in an 11-way tie for 56th place.