Women’s track and field team excels at important meet

Monica Wright

At the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., the slogan of the meet is “where the world’s best athletes compete.”
With a motto like that, and standing records set by Carl Lewis, Gail Devers and Jackie Joyner at Hilmer Lodge, Mt. SAC can be intimidating.
But with more than 200 schools, several prominent Olympians and several international stars, the Gophers women’s track and field team didn’t have time to focus on meet records.
“We pointed toward this meet with our training, and we didn’t go anywhere the weekend before,” head coach Gary Wilson said. “This is a huge meet to be at.”
The Minnesota women must have recognized the honor and performed accordingly.
Senior Beth Howard had the standout effort of the weekend with a hammer throw of 194 feet, setting a school record by more than 6 feet. Howard also provisionally qualified for the NCAA meet.
Junior Corinne Nimtz, whose goal was to qualify for the NCAA meet in the 10,000 meters, did so by running 34:41.89, her second-best time ever.
In the same event, sophomore Chrissy Eid ran a personal-best time by over a minute and a half.
“The meet went really well,” Wilson said. “We set school records, personal records, and Beth Howard was just awesome.”
Adding to Minnesota’s streak were sophomores Shani Marks, Neketa Sears, Amber Day and Jessica Shuster, who broke the school record they set two weeks ago in Arizona in the 4×400 with a time of 3:43.16.
After the strong weekend, Wilson plans to let most of his runners rest before the Drake Relays next weekend.
“We’re ready to come home, lick our wounds, get healthy and get ready for Drake,” Wilson said. “Then we want to win a Big Ten title.”
Men’s track and field
Not to be outdone, the men’s team had an equally successful weekend at the Sun Angel Invitational at the University of Arizona.
Junior Bob Quade placed second in the 400 hurdles with a personal-best time of 51.77. The mark was also good for a school record.
Quade’s time breaks the record set by Mark Gillmore back in 1974 and provisionally qualifies him for the NCAA meet.
“I wasn’t even aware until today that I had set any kind of record,” Quade said. “It just turns out that the weather was really nice, I was feeling good, and it happened to be a record. This was an elite meet, and the more elite, the harder you work to get better times.”
Junior Tom Gerding, the 1999 Big Ten outdoor champion in the 400, placed eighth in the event with a time that provisionally qualified him for the NCAA meet.
The Gophers dominated more than just the sprints, however. Junior Marc Johannsen placed second in the high jump, while senior Linus Lindroth and sophomore Steve Slattery took second and third respectively in the pole vault.
The men are back in action this weekend as they return to Tucson for the Arizona Elite.

Monica Wright covers track and field and welcomes comments at [email protected]