Wiebke drawing eyes after strong mile run

The second-year runner was third in the mile at the Big Ten Indoors.

by Ryan Falk

Redshirt sophomore Derek Wiebke has garnered the attention of Gophers head coach Steve Plasencia since the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Wiebke came in third in the mile at the meet with a time of 4:09.31.
“The third-place finish really opened up his and others’ eyes to the potential of Derek Wiebke,” Plasencia said.
The race helped springboard the mid-distance runner into the outdoor season, and he’s continued to perform well.
He ran a personal-best 1:49.84 in the 800 meters at the Baldy Castillo Invitational on March 19 to finish second. His time of 3:45.14 in the 1,500 meters at the Stanford Invitational on April 1 was also a personal best.
“[I’ve improved] more so in workouts,” Wiebke said. “I feel like I’m consistent. I think I’m a more timid runner than I’d like to admit, but the workouts help with the mental part of running.” 
Running has been a part of Wiebke’s life for many years. He earned five of his six high school letters by running, four with the Kasson-Montorville Senior High School track team and one with the cross country team.
His other letter in high school came in basketball.
Wiebke has family ties in all three sports. His father Dale played college basketball at Winona State, and his younger sister Taylor is a high jumper for the Gophers women’s track and field team.
“My family is very competitive,” Wiebke said. “We were raised with a competitive environment and also a supportive environment.”
Being pushed by his family helped Wiebke succeed despite coming from a small high school that he said didn’t have a big focus on track.
“The genes help,” Plasencia said. “When he came to us as a freshman, he was on the lower end of the training background. After a couple years, he’s adjusted.”
Wiebke keeps plenty on his plate by running for both the Gophers track and cross country teams. In two fall seasons, he’s run in six long course races with two top-10 finishes in cross country, which has kept him running in both fall and spring semesters.
“Having cross country in the fall gives us a good base,” Wiebke said. “We can get into the tough workouts once track starts.”