Schmitt leads U squad in first meet of year

All-American weight-thrower Aubrey Schmitt wasted no time in the young track and field season to break her own school record.
The junior from Hastings threw a school record 61-feet, 10 1/2-inches Saturday in the first indoor meet of the year when the women’s track and field team hosted the Northwest Open at the Fieldhouse.
Schmitt also took second in the shot put, throwing short of her rival Lisa Griebel from Iowa State.
“We’re going to be pretty close this year,” Schmitt said. “We have a meet this year in Iowa so I’ll see her again.”
Schmitt set the Big Ten record in the shot put during last year’s NCAA indoor meet with a throw of 16.58 meters, a second-place finish.
Her distance in the weight throw was only 2-feet, 1 1/4-inches shy of the NCAA provisional qualifying mark. She hopes to qualify for the NCAA meet in that event again this season.
As usual, throwing was the topic of the day for Gophers. Senior Beth Howard took second in the weight throw, an event which coach Gary Wilson feels can earn the Gophers some points in upcoming meets.
“We’ve got four kids that can score in (the weight throw),” he said.
Many of the Gophers did not compete in Saturday’s meet, which featured mostly Division II and III schools. Coach Wilson is more concerned about getting his team ready for the Jan. 29 meet at the Fieldhouse, when Minnesota will entertain Georgia and Southwest Missouri State, and other Division I opponents.
Minnesota returns eight NCAA qualifiers from last season, including All-American sophomore Linda Lindqvist (javelin) and senior Christine Gulbrandsen, who placed 12th at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor meet in the triple jump. Junior Corinne Nimtz also competed in the NCAA outdoor meet last spring in the 10,000-meter run.
But Minnesota isn’t necessarily looking for success during the indoor season. Wilson is most interested in using his indoor season as a primer for the upcoming outdoor season, where he hopes to contend for a conference championship.
“We placed seventh last season at the (Big Ten) indoor meet and third in the outdoor meet,” he said. “So that’s what we’re emphasizing.”
Minnesota will continue its indoor season this Saturday when Wilson sends some of his squad to Menomonie, Wis. for a meet hosted by Wisconsin-Stout.