Swimming coach Dale honored

After leading the Gophers to top-10 finishes in all but two events at the Big Ten Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship, head coach Dennis Dale was honored with a share of Swimming Coach of the Year accolades for the second-consecutive year

Co-Swimming Coaches of the Year: Dennis Dale, Minnesota and Bob Groseth, Northwestern.

The Gophers captured their second-consecutive championship and the program’s sixth title overall. Minnesota scored 711.5 points to beat second-place Michigan, which earned 636.5.

Minnesota’s performance was highlighted by two team and four individual titles, including Big Ten Championships records by Jeff Hackler in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard medley relay team of Todd Smolinski, Hackler, Allen Ong and Bjorn Lundin. Overall, eight Big Ten Championships records were broken during this year’s competition.

Women’s gymnastics

Minnesota’s women’s gymnastics team hosts its final meet of the season against North Carolina on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Sports Pavilion.

The Tar Heels claimed first place and set a school team total record last weekend at the NC State Invitational with a score of 196.150. The Tar Heels also set a school total vault record of 49.050.

The Tar Heels are ranked No. 22 in this week’s national rankings. North Carolina is 5-6 on the season. This will be the first meeting between the Gophers and Tar Heels.

Minnesota (9-5, 3-2 Big Ten) holds down the number nine spot for the second week in a row in this week’s edition of the GymInfo national ranking, based on the regional qualifying score.

Minnesota, with a team score of 195.920 is one of five Big Ten Conference schools listed among the nation’s top 25 teams.

Men’s track

Minnesota’s men’s track and field team will be sending its distance medley relay and 4×400 relay teams, along with sophomore Mitch Potter in the 400-meter dash to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., March 8-9.

Last weekend, the distance medley relay team of seniorBob Quade, junior Toby Henkels, freshman Ryan Ford and junior Andrew McKessock took fourth at the “Last Chance Meet” in South Bend, Ind., running a 9:39.61.

The time set the school record, breaking the previous mark set in 1994 by nearly seven seconds. Minnesota will enter the meet with the nation’s eighth-fastest time, with Villanova (9:29.57) leading the way.

The DMR joins Minnesota’s 4×400 relay team of sophomore Mikael Jakobsson, junior Andy Wohlin, sophomore Adam Steele and Potter which qualified with a time of 3:06.96 on Feb. 9.The time was the second- fastest in school history, behind only last year’s team that earned All-America honors.

After holding down the nation’s top spot for much of the season, this year’s foursome will head to Fayetteville with the seventh-fastest time behind LSU’s 3:04.75, ran last weekend.

Potter will be making a return trip to the NCAA meet in the 400 meters, after setting the Ames “Last Chance” meet and Minnesota school records, winning in 45.96 seconds. He broke his own school mark (46.25), set last year as a freshman.

Last season, Potter, with his seventh place showing (along with Henkels in the 800 meters and the 4×400 relay), became the first Minnesota runner to earn Indoor All-American honors since Garry Bjorklund placed fourth in the two-mile in 1970. Only LSU’s Alleyne Francique (45.35) and Pete Coley (45.37) have posted faster times this season.

Women’s track

Tahesia Harrigan will be the only Gopher to compete at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 8-9.

Harrigan will be making her first national appearance after missing the 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships due to injury.

She broke the 60-meter dash school record at the Cyclone Classic in Ames, Iowa on Feb. 10 with a winning time of 7.33 seconds. The time was a Cyclone Classic meet record, and is currently the eighth fastest time in the nation.

Harrigan broke the Gophers 200-meter dash record at the Big Ten Championships on Feb. 24, when she sprinted to fifth place in the conference with a time of 24.10 seconds.

The sophomore was awarded the Big Ten Track and Field Athlete of the Week on Feb. 19 for the second time this season. She also received the honor on Jan. 22. Harrigan finished first both the 300-meter dash (39.61) and the long jump (19-feet, 1/2-inch) at the Parents’ Day Open on Feb. 16, leading her to five total career bests for the season.

Women’s swimming

Minnesota travels to Chicago, Ill. to compete in the USA Swimming Speedo Sectionals from Thursday-Sunday, March 7-10. The Speedo Sectionals are pre-qualifying meets for the US National Championships held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center from March 19-23.

Senior Kristin Rygg and sophomores Jessica Crawford, Michelle Lieder and Lauren Guzauskas will be competing for the Gophers at the sectionals.

Women’s tennis

The Gophers will hit the road facing non-conference opponents. Minnesota will play Syracuse at 4 p.m. on Friday. The Gophers will then face Maryland Sunday for a 10 a.m. match. The Gophers will not participate in home action again until April 5 when they battle Big Ten rival Purdue.

Softball

After receiving 33 votes in this week’s USA Today/NFCA Poll, the 26th ranked Minnesota softball team makes the first of two trips to Florida this weekend to partake in the 19th annual Florida State Invitational, in Tallahassee. The field will include 16 teams consisting of four pools. The Gophers will open the tournament against No. 4 Nebraska (11-5), which is coming of its victory at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, at noon on March 8.