Gophers earn five first-place finishes at Jack Johnson Invitational

Senior Karlie Place won the pole vault event on Friday with a Big Ten-best mark of 4.28 meters.

Redshirt sophomore Rachel Schow clears a hurdle on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at the Field House. The Gophers competed against several other colleges at the Jack Johnson Classic Track Meet.

Chris Dang, Daily File Photo

Redshirt sophomore Rachel Schow clears a hurdle on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at the Field House. The Gophers competed against several other colleges at the Jack Johnson Classic Track Meet.

Jack Warrick

With a large crowd and eight visiting teams filling the Minnesota Fieldhouse, the No. 11 Gophers women’s track and field team had an opportunity to show what kind of team they were.

Minnesota did not disappoint.

The Gophers took first in five of the indoor events on Friday and Saturday at the Jack Johnson Invitational.

“I think just overall it was a good team weekend,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “A lot of lifetime bests and [personal records] from all the groups, so it was just a good team weekend.”

The pole vault event was dominated by Gophers senior Karlie Place. Place set the highest mark in the Big Ten with a 4.28 meters vault on Friday. Since she transferred to the Gophers from Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Place has set personal records in four different meets, quickly running up the record books to the third best pole vaulter in Minnesota history.

“She’s top-10 in the country now, so obviously that was great,” Bingle said.

The Gophers throwers took control of the throwing sector on Saturday. In the weight throw, the top five were all Gophers. Nina Horvath placed fifth, Temi Ogunrinde finished fourth, Nayoka Clunis with third, Kaitlyn Long came in second and Agnes Esser won the event with a 20.99 meters throw. 

“I think it says that we’re a really tight-knit group that trains really well together,” Esser said. “And it shows in competition, obviously, by everyone being over the meet record.”

In the shot put, Kiley Sabin set the first place mark at 16.03 meters, while Clunis earned third place with a 15.24 meters throw.

In high jump, Taylor Wiebke took first with a high jump of 1.77 meters. She said she was just one centimeter off her indoor personal record.

“It felt amazing to get it because my last couple of meets haven’t been where I wanted them to be,” Wiebke said.

Wiebke, who earned third in the Big Ten high jump last year, said her goals have gotten loftier since then.

“I guess another big goal is to qualify for indoor nationals, and I think I could do that if I keep up this streak of jumping higher every meet,” she said.

The final first place finisher was Emma Spagnola with her personal record performance of 8.41 seconds in the 60 meters hurdles event. Just behind her in the 60 meters hurdles was teammate Rachel Schow with an 8.52 seconds run — also a personal record.

The Gophers will head to Michigan for the Power Five meet on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, to take on some of the toughest competition and put their No. 11 ranking to the test.