Crowley to decide future this weekend

Michael Rand

Gophers hockey defenseman Mike Crowley said he will make a decision this weekend about whether he is returning for his senior season or leaving Minnesota to sign a pro contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
“Not much is new,” he said Thursday. “I still haven’t decided.”
Crowley is leaving for Milwaukee today to attend the Miller 200 — a car race — and will return Sunday. He said he will keep in contact with Anaheim representatives while he’s out of town and make a decision over the weekend.
The two-time All-American led the Gophers in scoring last season and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to the nation’s top college hockey player.
Strand honored
Gophers high jumper Staffan Strand was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year on Thursday.
Strand, a native of Upplands-Vasby, Sweden, won the Big Ten high jump title at the conference championships last week, leaping 7 feet, 3 1/4 inches. He also placed sixth in the triple jump.
His best jump of the outdoor season was the Texas Relays on April 5, when he cleared 7-4 1/2, a Minnesota freshman record. Strand equaled that mark at the Adidas Oregon Classic. Both jumps automatically qualified him for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 4-7 in Bloomington, Ind.
Gophers 10th all-around
Minnesota is currently in 10th place in the fourth annual Sears Directors Cup standings, which ranks the all-around strength of college athletics programs around the country.
With a total of 539.5 points, Minnesota is the second-highest ranked Big Ten school, trailing ninth-place Michigan, which has 542 points.
The all-sports award honors Division I schools with the best performances in nine core sports each for men and women and two wild card sports for each. Points are awarded based on tournament finishes. The national champion in a sport earns 64 points and for each place below the top spot teams earn one point less.
The Gophers achieved their highest ranking ever earlier this year when they were in fifth place after winter sports standings were compiled. The previous best finish for Minnesota was three years ago when the school finished 14th.
NIT pairing announced
The Gophers men’s basketball team will face Utah State on Nov. 17 in the first round of the preseason NIT, tournament directors announced Wednesday.
The preseason NIT features 16 teams, including Kansas and Cincinnati. The semifinals and finals will be Nov. 26-28 at Madison Square Garden in New York.