Men’s track and field finishes first; women’s team finishes second

Freshman Ben Psicihulis finished first in the 600-meter.

Jack White

Freshman Ben Psicihulis has started his collegiate career on a high note.

In his first season with Minnesota, Psicihulis finished first in the 600-meter race. His performance helped Minnesota claim a team title in South Dakota State’s Jim Emmerich Invitational on Saturday. Head coach Steve Plasencia said he felt better about his team’s races in the second half of Saturday compared to the first half.

“During that second part of it, we had some guys step up and run pretty well,” Plasencia said. “Probably the outstanding performance for us was Ben Psicihulis.”

Psicihulis was also a part of a winning relay team. He, Jonathan Webb, Jackson Wellenstein and Josh Tracy ran in the 4×400 meter relay team and picked up a first-place finish. Tracy finished just behind Psicihulis in the 600-meter race, helping the team take home the top two spots.

“You could see it, Ben’s adjusted very well to the workload,” Plasencia said. “He’s really taken to that 600-meters, because 600-meters is a distance ran in high school.”

Minnesota also had a first-place finish in the mile. Redshirt freshman Nick Rink ran a time of 4:10.98 to earn the win.

Minnesota tallied 101.333 team points in the meet. The next closest team was North Dakota State with 61.666 points.

“Today, the luxury was running on a very nice, 300-meter track,” Plasencia said. “When guys get into a nice facility, one would think the opportunity to get [personal records] … is there for them.”

Women’s team finishes second

Senior Kaitlyn Long is competing with the Gophers for the first time this season, but she arrives to the team with accolades.

She finished second in the weight throw at the Division II National Championships for Winona State. Long transferred to Minnesota for her final year of college track and field. 

The results have been good so far. Long was named the weight throw champion at the University of Iowa Larry Wieczorek Invite on Saturday. She won Outstanding Female Field Event Athlete, as the Gophers finished second in event as a whole.LSU, the first-place finisher, scored 114 points to Minnesota’s 98.33.

“It was competitive, which was good,” said head coach Matt Bingle. “It was great that way — to see those schools and have great competition.”

Redshirt senior Titania Markland finished first among collegiate runners and second overall in the 800-meter race.

Next up, both the the men’s and women’s teams head back home to host the Jack Johnson Classic. The event starts Friday and runs two days.

“We’re ready to work and be focused and [a] kind of ‘do your job’ mentality is what we’re trying to have over the next couple weeks,” Bingle said.