Gophers take home 12 titles in Minnesota Open

Many of the team’s younger members performed well over the weekend.

Matt Greenstein

The Gophers’ balance of strength, endurance and speed was on full display Saturday as Minnesota notched 12 titles at its season-opening meet.

“I thought our team did a really good job of bringing the energy,” assistant coach Sarah Hopkins said. “Overall, I think we had a really solid performance across the board. We had a lot of balance today.”

On her way to a first-place finish in the weight throw, redshirt senior thrower Devin Stanford put her name in the Minnesota record books, taking second place in school history for the event with a 19.96-meter throw.

“It’s really exciting. I’m just having a lot of fun,” Stanford said.

Redshirt junior Becca Dyson also stood out for the Gophers at the meet. She came off of a solid cross country season and said she was excited for the team’s first meet, especially on home turf.

“[We] just wanted to go out there and set the tone and show that this is our house. That’s the attitude I try [to] take,” Dyson said.

Dyson won the 3,000-meter race with the fastest time in the Big Ten this season.

Though both Stanford and Dyson are upperclassmen, younger and more inexperienced Gophers also helped give Minnesota balance at the meet.

In their first collegiate meet, freshmen Heta Tuuri and Emma Spagnola solidified their names in Gophers record books.

Tuuri set the program record with a 1.8-meter high jump and Spagnola moved to second all time in the 60-meter hurdle with her time of 8.64 seconds.

Dyson said the success of the team’s youth is exciting.

“I think we’ve done a great job recruiting. They’re ready and focused. They’re really competitive,” Dyson said.

Another young standout, redshirt sophomore Jamie Piepenburg, placed first in the mile by about one-fifth of a second. Teammate redshirt junior Kaila Urick placed second.

“That young class has really done a nice job. These young guys are ready to step up and they’re ready to compete at the Big Ten level. It’s not easy for a freshman and sophomore, but they’re stepping up and doing it,” Hopkins said.

Stanford said the team’s confidence is very high after the meet because of the balanced performance.

“We know that we’ve been putting in the work all fall, and [we feel] that we can beat everyone,” Stanford said.

Men go 100 percent

In all three events in which it competed, Minnesota’s men took home first place.

Senior Justin Barber led the charge, taking home first place in the weight throw with a distance of 21.14 meters, followed closely by teammate Gian Ferretti.

Junior Luke Johnson finished first in the shot put with a throw of 17.41 meters, setting a new personal record.

Logan Markuson’s pole vault height of 4.88 meters helped the Gophers maintain an unblemished meet.