Men win four events at Musco Invite

The women’s team, meanwhile, took home a few victories from the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational in Baton Rouge.

by Dane Mizutani

Upon their arrival in Iowa City, Iowa this weekend, the Minnesota menâÄôs track and field team again ran into unreliable weather conditions, something that has plagued the squad all year. Temperatures at the Iowa Musco Twilight reached the upper 50s, but overcast skies and blustering winds influenced competition heavily on Saturday. âÄúItâÄôs just one of those things you have to deal with,âÄù head coach Steve Plasencia said. The Gophers reflected the outlook of their coach at the meet by winning four events and registering a number of personal-bests despite the cold. Harun Abda won the 400-meter with a time of 47.25 seconds. Travis Burkstrand placed first in the 1,500-meter with a career-best mark of 3:49.77. Abda, Burkstrand and a handful of other athletes participated in different events from which they regularly compete. Plasencia said it was a way for them to work on other components of their technique and key in on different aspects of their main race. Minnesota collected two more first-place finishes as Steve Sulkin won the 5,000-meter with a time of 14:39.69 and Trey Davis landed a throw of 56 feet, 10 inches to capture the title in the shot put. Micah Hegerle continued his successful season, recording a distance of 209 feet, 3 inches in the hammer throw, good for second overall, and first among collegiate competitors. The Iowa Musco Twilight also features national and international competitors. Though it wasnâÄôt a victory, Plasencia said David PachutaâÄôs career-best time of 1:48.91 in the 800-meter may have provided the most promise of the weekend, as it presents the Gophers with options for who will run with the 4×800 team at the Drake Relays. âÄúWeâÄôre really looking forward to throwing that 4×800-meter out at Drake next weekend,âÄù Plasencia said. âÄúWeâÄôve got some real depth there, and weâÄôve got some good guys. That could be a really fun event for Minnesota at Drake Relays.âÄù Plasencia said overall he was very satisfied with the Iowa Musco Twilight as it prepares the team for the Drake meet next week and the Big Ten Championships three weeks from now. âÄúWe came out to try and to improve on some marks, and we did that,âÄù he said. âÄúAll in all, weâÄôre walking towards the Big Ten meet as time goes on, and I thought we made some steps tonight. That is what we hope to do next week at the Drake Relays as well.âÄù Ben Peterson displayed what he can do when given good conditions, winning the pole vault at the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational with a height of 17 feet, 7.75 inches. WomenâÄôs team led by WillisâÄô record-breaking performance Todea-Kay Willis and the rest of the Minnesota womenâÄôs track and field team made the most of their opportunity to compete in sunny Baton Rouge, La. at the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational over the weekend. Willis won the long jump on Saturday and rewrote the GophersâÄô record books in the process. Her leap of 21 feet, 1.5 inches set a school record, breaking the old mark of 21 feet, 1.25 inches set by Liz Roehrig in 2006. Nikki Tzanakis also saw success in Baton Rouge, using her performance Saturday to build on her victory at the Mesa Classic two weeks ago. Tzanakis won the discus at the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational with a throw of 164 feet, 4 inches. Kim Hovey finished fifth in the same event with a distance of 150 feet, 5 inches. Chimerem Okoroji, led the Gophers on the track en route to a career day. She registered personal bests at the meet in the 100- and 200-meter dash, finishing 10th and third, respectively. Although certain members of the 4×100-meter relay team found success during other parts of SaturdayâÄôs meet, the relay team as a whole finished fifth with a time of 45.36 seconds. They will look to drop that time with the Big Ten Championships approaching. The Gophers women will also have a quick turnaround this week with the Drake Relays coming up on Thursday.