Gophers bring home two titles from weekend competition

The team competed at two separate meets in Nebraska and Indiana.

Minnesota's Becca Dyson runs the final stretch of the Intrasquad 5K on Friday at Les Bolstad Golf Course.

Alex Tuthill-Preus

Minnesota’s Becca Dyson runs the final stretch of the Intrasquad 5K on Friday at Les Bolstad Golf Course.

Grant Donald

Despite its members being spread nearly 600 miles apart, the women’s track and field team won two titles and recorded many career bests over the weekend.

With the pole-vaulters and distance-runners competing in South Bend, Ind., at the Meyo Invitational and the rest of the team in Lincoln, Neb., for the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational, the weekend highlighted a unique aspect of track and field.

“It’s just part of the sport,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “We obviously love to compete as an entire team at a meet, but this weekend really gave us a chance to compete against some tough programs around the nation.”

The Gophers’ competitors this weekend were the toughest they’ve come across so far this season. But a few athletes rose to the occasion, including sophomore Titania Markland.

Markland brought home the title in the 600-meter dash, recording a career-best time.

“It means a lot to me because, looking at myself and the competition I raced against, there were a lot of good girls running,” Markland said. “I think I’m in a good position going into the Big Ten [meets].”

Markland’s day wasn’t finished there, as the Jamaica native anchored Minnesota’s 4×400-meter relay. The race was the second-fastest indoor relay in program history.

Although the Gophers finished second in the race on Saturday, Bingle said he was impressed with the way his relay team has competed early on in the season.

“[The 4×400-meter relay team] ran a well-executed race, much faster than I expected them to,” Bingle said. “To have them finish out every meet for us will be huge once we get into the Big Ten meets.”

Redshirt senior Devin Stanford got the weekend started for Minnesota, taking home the title in the weight throw on
Friday.

While Markland and Stanford were holding things down in Nebraska, redshirt junior Becca Dyson was leading the charge in Indiana.

Dyson ran the fastest time by a Minnesota athlete in the 3,000-meter run this season, finishing ninth overall.

“I didn’t feel like it was my best race overall. I have a little higher expectations,” Dyson said. “I was happy with the last lap, though. I always save a little something to fight with over the last lap.”

Three other Gophers — redshirt junior Kaila Urick, redshirt sophomore Haley Johnson and redshirt freshman Madeline Strandemo — set career-best times in the same race.

Next week, the Gophers will reassemble and head to Iowa to compete in the Iowa State Classic, an event that Dyson is looking forward to because most of the team will be there.

“It was weird to be away from the full team this weekend because people normally feed off the atmosphere and energy of the whole team,” Dyson said. “We had some great things happen in Nebraska, and I wish I would have been there to really cheer on my teammates.”