Kansas Relays good preparation for upcoming Drake Relays

Paul Cordes

For the Minnesota women’s track team’s first big track meet of the outdoor season, junior Liz Roehrig has the Gophers off to a good start.

The heptathlon competitor jump-started Minnesota at the Kansas Relays Wednesday breaking a school record and racing out to a first place lead in the event with 3,591 points.

“It’s great for Liz and a good start for her season,” sophomore Alicia Rue, who is coming off a Big Ten indoor championship in pole vaulting, said. “All the rest of us going there, we’re motivated when we see her. Everyone is just pumped and hoping we can do just as well as she has.”

Roehrig’s 3,591 points not only paces her for a school record but also will challenge the NCAA automatic and Olympic Trials standards.

After clearing 6 feet in the high jump to become the school record holder in the event, Roehrig went on to take second in the 100-meter hurdles and followed that with a 42-2 1/4 effort in the shot put, giving her a solid lock on first place.

Nebraska sophomore Chantae McMillan sits behind Roehrig with a score of 3,155 points.

And as this is undoubtedly the largest outdoor challenge for Minnesota this season, Roehrig’s scores look even more impressive.

The tournament is the fourth largest in the nation with 5,300 athletes – from both college and high school – making the trek to Lawrence, many in hopes of getting ready for the crème de la crème of outdoor meets – the Drake Relays next weekend.

“A lot of the girls are looking to qualify for regionals so they can get it out of the way early in the season. It also shows where you are amongst a lot of the competition,” Rue said. “Ö It’s good preparation for next weekend which is a big focus for the outdoor season.”

Men split at three small tournaments

The Minnesota men’s track team won’t be in as competitive a weekend as the women, but preparation will still be important with the Drake Relays days away.

The Gophers will compete in the Tommie Twilight hosted by St. Thomas and the Carleton Relays; they will send four to compete in the Decathlon at the Kansas Relays in Lawrence.