Men and women both bring home championships

It was an historic afternoon for Minnesota menâÄôs and womenâÄôs track. The women retained their place at the top of the conference, and the men knocked Wisconsin off the top of the podium for the first time in eight years as both teams won the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field championship on Sunday. It was the first time the Gophers captured the menâÄôs and womenâÄôs title in the same year; the last time any Big Ten school accomplished the feat was 1997. Each team did it in its own style, however. The men went with a blowout. Their 135 points outpaced MichiganâÄôs second place finish by 42. The women 129, meanwhile, edged the runner-up Nittany Lions by a mere four points. Despite the vastly different margins of victory, balance was the key for both Gophers squads. Each managed scoring performances in all but two events. âÄúDepth was the difference,âÄù womenâÄôs head coach Matt Bingle said in a release. âÄúThis was a great team effort. We needed points from all over the place and we managed to get those points.âÄù The women secured their final points with a fourth place finish in the 4×400 meter relay, which turned out to be enough even though Penn State captured the crown in the event. Senior Heather Dorniden anchored the relay and, as sheâÄôs done so many time before, anchored the teamâÄôs performance. She captured individual titles in the mile and 600 meter runs, setting a Big Ten Championship record in the process with a 600 time of 1:27.78. On Saturday, junior Alicia Rue repeated as Big Ten champion in the pole vault, clearing 14 feet once again and winning by over seven inches. The men received equally impressive individual performances. Sophomore Hassan Mead captured a pair of Big Ten titles in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter runs, becoming the first menâÄôs individual dual champion since Benjamin Jensen won the pole vault and heptathlon in 1999. Junior Matt Fisher added a victory in the high jump by clearing a height of 7âÄô3âÄù, and fellow juniors R.J. McGinnis and Aaron Studt respectively captured the heptathlon and shot put crowns. âÄúComing into this meet we thought we had a very good chance of contending for the title, but you still need your guys to go out and perform,âÄù menâÄôs head coach Steve Plasencia said in a release. âÄúThey not only went out and competed, but our guys had very strong performances across the board. I think our heptathletes got us started and we just keep the hammer down.âÄù