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Weekend in Iowa and Oregon yields titles, qualifying

Minnesota’s men’s track and field team’s split weekend led to split results.

One location yielded championships, while the other gave Minnesota regional qualifying marks.

The Gophers’ distance runners, running at the Oregon Invitational in Eugene, Ore., posted five NCAA Midwest Regional qualifying times. Meanwhile, the rest of the team, in Iowa City, Iowa, for the Musco Twilight, tallied four individual championships to go along with a team championship.

The Gophers scored 157 points, topping host Iowa by three points for the team title.

The weather Saturday at the Musco meet proved to be one of Minnesota’s biggest challenges.

The temperatures stayed in the 40s most of the day, and with winds gusting more than 30 mph, coach Phil Lundin said it was important his team face difficult conditions before the final stretch of the season.

“From the standpoint of dealing with wind, we did a good job with that,” Lundin said. “I guess it’s good that we can encounter tough conditions before heading into the conference and NCAA meets.”

Through the difficult weather in Iowa, Bryant Howe won the high jump, jumping 6-10 3/4. The other Musco champions for the Gophers were David Kelley, in the long jump, with a 23-8 jump; Vince Donahoe, in the 400-meter hurdles, with a time of 55.24 seconds; and Aaron Buzard, in the 200, in 21.84.

For Buzard, even though he had to deal with wind during his race, the weekend provided him with an important opportunity to work on aspects of his racing heading into next weekend’s Drake Relays.

“I really needed to get out and work on my foot speed,” Buzard said. “It was a good race, kind of where I wanted to be.”

While the sprinters and field athletes were dealing with adverse weather in Iowa, Minnesota’s distance runners were busy qualifying for the regional meet in Oregon.

Senior Andrew Carlson broke the Minnesota school record in the 5,000 meters, finishing in 13:44.64. The time was good for second place and a Midwest qualifying mark.

Also qualifying from Oregon were Trent Riter, who was second in the 800 in 1:48.96, and Ryan Ford, with a fifth-place time of 3:48.26 in the 1,500.

Women win eight events

Minnesota’s women’s track and field team also braved the weather this weekend in Iowa, winning the women’s team title at the Musco Twilight. Minnesota scored 213 points – 67 more than runner-up Iowa.

“I thought they did a phenomenal job today,” coach Gary Wilson said. “It was about a 30 mph wind, 40 degrees, and they just fought to the end. It was fantastic.”

The Gophers took eight event crowns, including two from redshirt freshman Liz Podominick in the shot put and the discus. Her discus throw of 174-11 earned her a regional qualifying spot.

Minnesota’s other championships came from Ruby Radocaj in the javelin, Andrea Smith in the pole vault, Liz Roehrig in the high jump, Melissa Steele in the 400 hurdles, Ladia Albertson-Junkans in the 1,500 and the 4×400 relay team.

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