Pair of titles for Buzard, Gophers finish second

Aaron Buzard won the 400 meters and was part of the winning 4×400 relay team.

by Krista Theis

The Minnesota men’s track and field team took second once again behind Wisconsin Badger at this year’s Big Ten Indoor Championships in Bloomington, Ind.

This is the second straight runner-up finish for the Gophers, but head coach Phil Lundin said that although they would have liked to take home the title, they knew it would be difficult from the start.

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“We’re a little tired of finishing second to the Badgers,” Lundin said, “but realistically what we had going in to try to defeat them would have required a little more fire power than we had available.”

Senior Derek Gearman said that although the team was disappointed in not achieving its goal, it did as well as they could.

“The points were a little more evenly spread so I guess it made for a more exciting meet,” he said. “We just came up a little short this year.”

Wisconsin won the meet with 120 points, followed by Minnesota with 93 points, Michigan with 89 and Ohio State with 84.

Although the Gophers did not leave Indiana with a team title, they did have many personal triumphs.

Leading the way was senior Aaron Buzard who won his first individual title in the 400 meters, finishing in a time of 46.64 seconds.

Buzard also anchored Minnesota’s first place 4×400-meter relay. The team of Buzard, junior Jason Erickson and sophomores Walter Langkau and Sayfe Jassim won the title with a time of 3:11.07, provisionally qualifying them for the NCAA Championships.

“That was a very exciting race to be a part of and actually probably one of the more fun races to watch at the Big Ten meet,” Buzard said.

Gearman was another Minnesota competitor who had a strong weekend. Gearman placed in all three of his jumping events.

He took third in the long jump with a career-best and provisional qualifying mark of 24-fee, 7 1/4 inches, second in the high jump at 7-1 3/4 and fifth in the triple jump with a distance of 50-6 1/4.

Gearman said he was looking forward to going against the Big Ten competition but was surprised with which event he excelled in more.

“I always expect to do better in the horizontal than the high jump,” he said, “and that ended up being my best event.”

Senior Adam Schnaible also stood out this weekend, finishing second in the weight throw 65-6 3/4.

Freshman Aaron Studt also bettered his own freshman record Saturday in the same event with 59-11 3/4 throw.

On Sunday, Studt continued his success with a third-place finish in the shot put, throwing a distance of 58-08 1/2.

The Gophers had a lot of second and third-place finishes throughout the meet, but Lundin said they just didn’t have enough to get the points for first place.

He was, however, pleased with the fact Minnesota scored in every event but the 60-meter hurdles.

“That kind of represents what we try to do here is to have a well-rounded team. We just need more champions and big point scorers,” Lundin said. “At least we’re represented in most events and we can be competitive. That’s something to be said.”