U men’s track team wins first ever indoor title

by Michael Dougherty

It was a weekend of historic proportions for the Gophers men’s track and field team, as they won the Big Ten Indoor Championship for the first time in school history, defeating second-place Wisconsin by 14 points.
Head coach Phil Lundin is proud of his team and its impending place in the school annals.
“Everybody on the team is very aware this is very special,” he said. “It’s a first. It’s historic. These kids are always going to be a part of that, and always be remembered as the first team to win it.”
In a manner similar to how the men’s swimming and diving team captured its Big Ten title, Lundin’s squad outdistanced the competition with depth.
“It was just a very enjoyable experience,” Lundin said. “It was tight all the way. Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois — they all could have won it. We were just very strong and had a lot of guns. We competed solidly.”
The Gophers won only two individual titles, but outscored three-time defending champion Wisconsin 108-94. Host Purdue took third by scoring 81.
Sophomore Staffan Strand captured his second straight high jump crown by equalling his meet record jump of 7 feet, 4 1/2 inches.
Also repeating for the Gophers was junior Ben Jensen, who won the heptathlon with a score of 5,769. That score broke the record of 5,648 he set at last year’s meet.
Senior Scott Beadle took second in the 600-meters with a time of 1:18.93. Matt Klima, of Illinois, won the meet with a Lambert Fieldhouse record time of 1:18.51. The Gophers’ Tom Gerding set the previous record in a qualifying meet on Saturday. He took fourth on Sunday.
Sophomore Fred Rogers, a cornerback on the Gophers football team, took second in the 55-meter dash and set a personal best with a time of 6.33 seconds.
The high jump team, led by Strand, took first, fourth, fifth and sixth places, racking up valuable team points.
The pole vaulters also fared well, as they took second, third and fourth places. Vesa Rantanen cleared 17-6 1/4 for second, Tye Harvey 17-6 1/4 in third, and Jensen at 16-11 for fourth.
Women’s track and field
While the men were wrapping up their title with convincing fashion, the women were in East Lansing, Mich., for their Big Ten championships. The Gophers took seventh place as Michigan won the title.
Although they didn’t fare as well as the men’s team, women’s head coach Gary Wilson said he was proud of his team because of the adversity they have overcome.
Those hardships include the loss of seven athletes who competed at the Big Tens last year to injury.
Wilson was particularly impressed with the effort turned in by sophomore Daphne Panhuysen.
Panhuysen scored 16 of the Gophers’ 33 points by taking fifth in the 5000-meter run, sixth in the 3000-meter and running the third leg of the distance medley relay team that took second.
“Daphne was incredible,” Wilson said. “She finished the 3000-meter and six minutes later — I mean literally six minutes later — she ran with the distance medley relay. Incredible.”
The anchor leg of that relay team was senior Andrea Lentz. Lentz, who came to Minnesota as a freshman on a limited scholarship, has developed into an exceptional athlete, Wilson said.
“Lentz was chasing people down and passing people. It was fantastic,” Wilson said. “I’ve never been happier than I am for Andrea.”
In another twist of overcoming adverse situations, sophomore Christine Gulbrandsen took fourth place in the pentathlon — after only practicing the event for the three days.