Men and women travel to Iowa City seeking improvement in all events

by Krista Theis

The men’s and women’s track and field teams travel together to Iowa City this weekend.

Iowa will welcome an array of tough teams to its campus when the Hawkeyes host the Musco Twilight Invitational on Saturday.

The Gophers will be competing against teams such as Iowa, Marquette, Northern Iowa, Western Illinois, Wisconsin and Illinois-Champaign.

The Twilight Invite is also the only team-scored meet Minnesota will be competing in until the championship portion of its season starts next month.

Because each team is allowed to enter 34 individuals, the Gophers are filling their buses with athletes to hit the road.

Although many Minnesota runners, jumpers and throwers are traveling this weekend, a lot of top athletes from each team will be staying home to rest for next week’s Drake Relays.

The women’s team will be going at full strength in the field events though.

Coach Matt Bingle said that for those competing this weekend the expectation is to try and come out of the meet feeling good about where they are at.

“I’d just like to see us come in and get after it,” Bingle said, “and try to execute all the things they’ve been working on with their coaches, and challenge themselves.”

The women have already qualified 16 individuals for the NCAA Midwest Regional meet, which junior Christin Kingsley said is encouraging.

“People keep getting better and better and improving their distances and bringing down their times,” she said.

One reason for the team’s success so far is the support the women are getting from each other, Kingsley said.

“Everybody is excited for everybody else, and the team unity has picked up so much over the past year,” she said. “I’m really excited to see how things end up this year, because I think we could do some pretty big things together.”

Men join the women

The men’s team will also be competing in Iowa this weekend. However, it will be sending three distance runners to the Carlton Relays in Northfield as well.

Men’s coach Phil Lundin said he is excited that Iowa is only a bus trip away, so his team can use yet another event to work toward regional performances or to get ready for the Big Ten Championships.

Like the women, most of the Gophers’ Big Ten team will be staying home this weekend, but Lundin said he expects those competing to start making their move.

“Hopefully in the next few weeks we’re going to see some of the developmental kids get some personal bests,” Lundin said.

Lundin said he hopes to see some personal records out of a lot of people, especially the pole vault crew and the long sprinters.

With the recent Midwest weather being difficult so far this season, Lundin said he hopes it is nice in Iowa because that’s when the athletes can evolve and have their best performances.

Lundin said the good mix of Division I competition at this weekend’s meet will be a good chance to bring out the best in his team.

“I think we’re about due to have some big breakthroughs,” he said.