Gophers bring home titles

The men’s team finished third, and the women’s team placed ninth.

Gopher Luca Wieland competes in hurdles on Jan. 18, 2014 in the Sports Pavilion.

Daily File Photo, Patrcia Grover

Gopher Luca Wieland competes in hurdles on Jan. 18, 2014 in the Sports Pavilion.

Grant Donald

Even though the 600-meter dash isn’t a typical track race and it doesn’t take place at national meets, it’s probably the reason the Gophers were able to finish their indoor season third in the Big Ten championships.

Redshirt sophomore Mitch Hechsel ran away with the title in the event with redshirt freshman Nate Roese finishing second. The duo recorded 18 of the team’s 76 points in that one race, catapulting Minnesota up the scoreboard.

“I’ve been training for moments like this my whole life,” Hechsel said. “To do it with Nate by my side, it couldn’t have been a better moment for both of us.”

The 600-meter dash wasn’t the only title that the men brought back to Minneapolis.

Sophomore Luca Wieland won the heptathlon, setting a new program record in the process.

To lead Wieland’s title surge, the Germany native took first in the shot put and the 60-meter hurdles while also finishing second in the high jump.

“I think once Luca got through the hurdles — the first event [Saturday] — he had a good idea that he would win the title,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “I think it’s hard to get loosened up again after already pounding yourself with four events the day before.”

The Gophers didn’t earn any points in the 60-meter dash, one of the meet’s more exciting events. Redshirt freshman Berkley Edwards qualified for the finals in the event, but was held out because of a sore hamstring, Plasencia said.

Other Minnesota notables were redshirt sophomore Trevor Yedoni finishing third in the long jump and senior Justin Barber and junior Gian Ferretti finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the weight throw.

“We certainly had some big points, but it’s the guys that picked up two or three points that carried us,” Plasencia said. “It was a complete team effort.”

Herauf takes first in pentathlon

On the women’s side, the Gophers countered Wieland’s title in the heptathlon with redshirt junior Jess Herauf winning the pentathlon.

To go along with Herauf’s title, the Gophers had athletes finish sixth, seventh and eighth in the event, making the pentathlon Minnesota’s highest-scoring event of the meet en route to a ninth-place finish in the Big Ten.

“Minnesota multi-[event] runners are really stepping up this year,” Herauf said. “I’m excited to be going to nationals with Luca, and I hope we represent Minnesota well.”

Herauf said during the off season, she worked on improving her sprinting after last year’s 12th-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles. The added emphasis paid off, as Herauf improved to a fourth-place finish in the hurdles this year.

“I was just in awe when I crossed the final finish line,” Herauf said. “It was just such a good feeling knowing that all the training paid off and we are going down the right path.”

While no other Gophers won individual events, sophomore Titania Markland finished second in the 600-meter dash, and redshirt senior Devin Stanford and redshirt junior Lyndsey Thorpe finished third and seventh in the weight throw, respectively.

“Obviously we were a little disappointed in our finish in the standings,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “We were only 17 points out of second so there is a ton of parity. I’ve never seen it take so few points to win this meet.”