Men’s team wins three titles in first outdoor meet

The women’s team also earned three titles in a meet cut short by weather.

Redshirt junior Nick Bachinski clears the bar Saturday at the University of Minnesota Field House for the second-annual Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Duel. Bachinski won the event, jumping a personal record of 2.14 meters.

Sam Harper, Daily File Photo

Redshirt junior Nick Bachinski clears the bar Saturday at the University of Minnesota Field House for the second-annual Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Duel. Bachinski won the event, jumping a personal record of 2.14 meters.

Ryan Falk

The Gophers men’s track and field team started their outdoor season over the weekend and won three event titles at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Arizona.
 
 
“I felt good about our performance,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “The high jumpers had a nice comeback from the indoor season.”
 
 
Both of Minnesota’s high jumpers placed in the top five in their events, with redshirt junior Nick Bachinski placing first. He set a personal outdoor record of 2.13 meters to win a five-way jump off.
 
 
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Lockard also took part in the jump off and finished fifth.
 
 
“Our goal is to be consistent,” Bachinski said. “Continue what we did in the indoor season.”
 
 
One of the Gophers’ other two event titles came from senior Sean Donnelly, who set a school record in the hammer throw with a toss of 74.35 meters. The distance is the best in the NCAA this year and good enough to qualify him for the Olympic trials, Plasencia said.
 
 
“Donnelly had a huge performance,” Plasencia said. “This competition allowed us to do our full slate of outdoor events.”
 
 
The Gophers’ third title came from senior Aaron Bartnik, who took first in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:03.39.
 
 
Women’s team wins three titles in shortened meet
 
 
The Gophers women’s track and field team also won three event titles over the weekend, though its meet was shortened by rain.
 
 
The team’s first outdoor meet of the season was the South Alabama Jaguar Classic in Mobile, and only 10 events ended up taking place.
 
 
“That was a great start,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “We had a great week of training. It’s the beginning of the season, and I feel like we’re in a good place.”
 
 
Redshirt junior Erin Hawkins won the 400-meter dash in 55.62 seconds, winning by almost two seconds.
 
 
The Gophers’ second title came from redshirt senior Lyndsey Thorpe, who won the hammer throw with a distance of 58.37 meters. 
 
 
Junior Nicolle Murphy earned the Gophers’ last event title of the meet in her 2016 season debut. She won the javelin with a distance of 51.74 meters, which was more than six meters better than the second place finisher.
 
 
“[The performance] gives [her] confidence,” Bingle said. “She did a great job of being relaxed and focused. It was good to see her in that environment for her first meet.”