At St. Thomas, a final tune-up for Big Tens

Minnesota will send most of its throwers, along with athletes still competing for conference championship spots.

Dane Mizutani

Call this the calm before the storm.

Coming off an impressive performance at the prestigious Drake Relays last weekend, this weekâÄôs meet at St. Thomas will be slightly less pressurized for the menâÄôs track and field team.

As the regular season nears a close, it may provide a final confidence builder before the storm strikes in the form of the Big Ten championships.

The meet at St. Thomas will encapsulate what has been a season of growth for the team and will give some athletes one final chance to make their mark.

âÄúThere are some of the spots yet to be solidified and there will be some guys fighting for [those] spots on the Big Ten team,âÄù head coach Steve Plasencia said of the in-team competition he expects at St. Thomas.

The limited remaining spots on the Big Ten championships roster should supply extra motivation Thursday.

âÄúI think the guys that know they are in that position will take [their] event pretty seriously,âÄù Plasencia said. âÄúRepresenting your school at a major college championship is a real motivating factor.âÄù

Along with the competitors looking to make the Big Ten squad, the throwers and hurdlers will also be in action, as such events call for increased repetition this time of the year.

Micah Hegerle will compete, looking to continue his career season and gain momentum as the reigning Big Ten champion.

Hegerle has dominated this season and St. Thomas will be his final chance to throw before his shot at a repeat.

âÄúItâÄôs the last time for us to do a tune-up before the Big Ten competition, so that is the kind of competition it will be,âÄù Plasencia said.

Minnesota will also send a majority of its top sprinters, but many distance runners will either take the meet off or run a different event than normal at St. Thomas.

Contingent of throwers look to continue season success for women

While a number of athletes on the womenâÄôs track and field team competed yesterday at St. Thomas, all the GophersâÄô throwers will throw at home today as a part of the Hamline Meet of the Unsaintly.

Minnesota will host the throw events due to poor track conditions at Hamline.

Kim Hovey and Nikki Tzanakis have been the cornerstone of the Gophers throwers this season and will look to continue to lead.

Tzanakis added another discus title to her season in her last competition, the Musco Twilight, with a throw of 164 feet, 4 inches. Hovey was fifth in that same event with a toss of 150 feet, 5 inches.

This preparation and repetition could prove pivotal in the coming weeks of the season.

The Big Ten championships take place the weekend of May 13 to 15.

Becca Pilkerton, All-American Sam Sonnenberg, Natalie Devine and Adrienne Thomaswere notable athletes competing at St. Thomas yesterday.