Rantanen, Strand named Academic All-American

Matthew Cross

Gophers track athletes Vesa Rantanen and Steffan Strand were named third team Academic All-American last week.
The two were key components to helping Minnesota win the indoor and outdoor Big Ten track championships this season.
Strand, a sophomore who has a 3.89 grade point average in computer science, is a four-time Big Ten high jump champion and holds indoor and outdoor conference records in the event.
Rantanen, a junior with a 3.48 GPA in psychology, won the indoor NCAA pole vaulting title and took second in the conference outdoor meet.

U to host national disability swimming meet
The 1998 USA Swimming Disability Championships will be held June 26-28 at the University Aquatic Center.
Athletes with all types of disabilities, including people who are deaf, blind and have other physical and mental disabilities, will compete.
USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport, estimates about 150 athletes will swim at the meet.
Among the athletes who will compete is Dan Kelly from Golden Valley. The swimming captain at Gustavus Adolphus College, Kelly earned six medals at the 1992 and 1996 Paralympic Games.

U finishes 17th in Sears Cup
In a competition that recognizes the best all-around athletics programs in the country, Minnesota finished 17th in the Sears Director’s Cup.
The judges use a complex point system to compare performances in ten men’s sports and ten women’s sports.
Minnesota has finished in the top 25 in four of the five years the competition has been held. Its best finish was the Cup’s inaugural year in 1993-94 when the Gophers finished 14th.
Stanford won the Cup by gathering 1,010 points. Michigan won the Big Ten honor with 620, but finished fifth overall. Penn State (15th with 380 points) was the only other Big Ten school ahead of Minnesota (370 points) in the national standings.

Future, current Gophers are finalists for MSC honor
Several Gophers athletes are among the elite few chosen as finalists for the Midwest Sports Channel’s Sports Salute Awards, which will be decided Thursday at the Target Center.
Red Wing senior John Pohl, who will attend the University on a hockey scholarship in the fall, is among the finalists for the high school boy’s award.
All three finalists for the NCAA-I men’s award are Gophers. That list includes wrestler Tim Hartung, pole vaulter Vesa Rantanen and swimmer Martin Zielinski.
Gophers soccer player Jennifer McElmury and swimmer Kim Sveum are finalists for the NCAA-I women’s award.
Gophers baseball assistant coach Herb Isakson will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Isakson has been a utility coach, performing several duties with the team, for 30 years.

Ex-Gophers football players get second chance at NFL
Former Gophers defensive end Ben Williams was recently signed by the Minnesota Vikings.
Williams, who played in NFL Europe this spring, is expected to compete for a backup role along the defensive line.
Ex-Gophers running back Chris Darkins recently switched from his college position to the defensive backfield in an effort to keep a roster spot with the Green Bay Packers.
The 6-1, 217 pounder was a fourth round pick of the Packers in 1996.