Karlie Place wins with new poles; Sammie Houston sees increased role

Place won the poll vault after receiving new poles that day.

Jack White

The Gophers coaching staff thought senior Karlie Place was improving, so they ordered bigger poles for her to exceed past performances.

There was one problem, however: the poles arrived the day before Saturday’s meet, the Parents Day Invite, and Place did not have time to practice with them before she competed.

She still managed to finish first on the pole vault with a jump of 13 feet, 11.75 inches. She fell just short of a career best, as Minnesota claimed five event titles over the weekend.

“It was a big day and the poles were a big part of it because I feel like I’ve been almost maxed out on the [shorter] poles,” Place said. “I feel really powerful when I’m holding onto the top. It felt really good to be able to move my grip up.”

Redshirt junior Kiley Sabin won the shot put with a throw of 55 feet and 7.75 inches. Minnesota claimed the second and third place throws in the shot put as well. Junior Nayoka Clunis finished second and redshirt sophomore Shay Nielsen finished third.

Head coach Matt Bingle said the highlights of the meet came in the throws.

“That was awesome,” Bingle said. “They should come out of here super confident in where we’re heading.”

Place attended the Hippo Campus concert in St. Paul to cap off an eventful Saturday.

“I’m actually not tired at all,” Place said Saturday night. “I’m probably going to do some homework and not go to bed for a while.”

Men’s Team wins 10 titles

Sammie Houston ended the Snowshoe Open with a top-10 finish in Minnesota’s history.

Houston won the indoor triple jump, earning a mark of 49 feet and 6.50 inches and the Gophers earned 10 titles in the meet to close out the regular season. Houston has seen an increased role this year compared to his past two seasons with the team.

“Last year was kind of get back into it, and then this year, [Houston] has kind of come into his own a little bit,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “Anytime we see that, it makes me happy for the young man.”

Redshirt sophomore Jonathan Tharaldsen won the shot put with a personal record of 57 feet and 5.50 inches. Connor Rousemiller, also a redshirt sophomore, took home the event title in weight throw, going for 65 feet and 7.75 inches.

For the second consecutive year, Minnesota claimed 10 titles in the final meet of the home schedule. The Gophers head to the Big Ten Indoor Championships next weekend. 

Plasencia, though, said he is not the kind of coach who counts event titles and much of the competition came from Division III schools in this meet.

“It’s kind of a meet where we run people that need a tune up before they head into the Big Ten’s and also guys who are trying to fill out some spots for the team,” Plasencia said. “I’m kind of looking more at the individual performances.”