Minnesota runners come up short in final chance for NCAA bids

Minnesota didn’t meet the expecations it set out to accomplish over the weekend.

by Brian Deutsch

The Minnesota men’s track and field team came up shorter than coach Phil Lundin had hoped for this weekend at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind.

The Invitational was the last chance for nine hopeful Gophers to qualify for the NCAA Championships next weekend.

up next

NCAA indoor championships
when: TBA Friday to Saturday
where: Fayetteville, Ark.

But according to Lundin, most of the participants for Minnesota failed to reach the next level.

“The objective was to either qualify for nationals or to solidify your spot at nationals,” Lundin said. “From that standpoint, I guess we didn’t meet the objectives that we set out.”

Senior Aaron Buzard took home top honors in the 400 meters with a time of 46.43.

Buzard beat his previous season-best in the 400 by 0.14 seconds, while also improving his provisionally qualifying time for the NCAA Championships.

“It’s a good confidence booster, just improving your time by a little bit,” Buzard said.

Senior Derek Gearman placed third in the triple jump with an indoor career-best

distance of 51 feet, 3 inches.

But according to Lundin, even Gearman’s personal best performance wasn’t enough to qualify the senior for his second event at nationals – Gearman had previously qualified in the high jump event.

On the other hand, the only athlete sophomore Ibrahim Kabia couldn’t beat this weekend was himself.

Kabia, who already had a strong chance of making it to the NCAA Championships, traveled to South Bend to see if he could improve his

Minnesota record in the 60 meters.

Although Kabia failed to surpass his own record, he still went on to win the event with a time of 6.73 seconds.

“Even though he didn’t improve upon his time, he’s shown that he’s definitely one of the top sprinters in the Big 10,” Lundin said. “He has a good chance of becoming an All-American if he can put everything together.”

Another member of the Gophers who showed a strong performance at the meet was sophomore Walter Langkau. Langkau put up a career-high in the 800 meters, where he placed second with a time of 1:50.68.

But Langkau didn’t find the same success as part of the distance medley relay team.

The grouping of Langkau, Buzard, junior Hans Storvick and sophomore Chris Rombough finished 19th in the event after competing in just their second race as a unit.

“We didn’t get as many people into the national meets as we had hoped,” Lundin said. “But we had some solid

performances from some of the kids and that’s a good indicator for the outdoors and the future.”

Minnesota’s next competition will be Mar. 9-10, when the Gophers head to Fayetteville, Ark. to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships.