Gophers men’s team third at Big Ten meet

The women’s team finished fourth at the indoor Big Tens over the weekend.

Senior Goaner Deng crosses the finish line of the mens 400-meter relay race at the University of Minnesota Field House on Jan. 23.

Sam Harper, Daily File Photo

Senior Goaner Deng crosses the finish line of the men’s 400-meter relay race at the University of Minnesota Field House on Jan. 23.

by Ryan Falk

The Gophers men’s track and field team had a strong showing at the 2016 Big Ten Indoor Championships, taking third with 72 points.
The Gophers were in 11th place as a team after the first day of the two-day event on Friday, but three second-team All-Big Ten performancesSaturday helped the team climb the rankings.
“We didn’t feel good about Friday,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “We got contributions [on day two] from places where we didn’t expect to.”
Senior Goaner Deng earned second-team All-Big Ten honors with a second-place finish in the 800-meters. He finished with a personal record of 1:47.13, which is the third-best time in Minnesota history. 
“I had the lead with 50 meters left, thinking I was going to win my first Big Ten title. Then [Penn State freshman Isaiah Harris] ran past me,” Deng said.
Senior Gian Ferretti was also named second-team All-Big Ten with his performance in the weight throw, clearing a career-best 21.62 meters to finish second in the event.
The team’s last All-Big Ten honoree was redshirt sophomore Ryan Lockard, who cleared 2.19 meters to take second in the high jump. Redshirt junior Nick Bachinski took third in the event by jumping 2.15 meters, which tied his personal best.
“Getting 14 points from the two high jumpers was a big help,” Plasencia said.
Women’s team takes fourth
The Gophers women’s track and field team won two individual Big Ten Titles en route to a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten Indoor Championships over the weekend.
“[It was an] unbelievable weekend in terms of personal records,” head coach Matt Bingle said.
The Gophers scored 89 points, led by first-place finishes from junior Titania Markland in the 600 meters and redshirt senior Jess Lehman in the pentathlon.
Markland won her event with a time of 1:28.59, while Lehman earned her second consecutive title in her event.
Lehman was in a close fight for first until the last part of the event, the 800 meters.
“Going into the 800 I knew I had to win by, like, five seconds,” Lehman said. “It was exciting and fun and nerve-racking, but the coaches were great.”
Minnesota also broke three indoor records at the meet. Sophomore Emerald Egwim ran a program-best time of 53.41 seconds in the 400 meters to finish sixth.
Junior Kimberly Golding beat her own program record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.18 seconds to come in fourth.
The Gophers 4×400 relay team of Egwim, Markland and redshirt juniors Kat Keller and Erin Hawkins also set a school record with a time of 3:35.33 to take fourth.