Minnesota finishes in middle of pack

The Gophers have one more weekend before the Big Ten championships.

by Megan Ryan

With the Big Ten outdoor championships one weekend away, the Gophers track and field teams got a sneak peek at Big Ten competition Saturday at the Musco Twilight in Iowa City, Iowa.

Minnesota’s women’s team took home five titles, finishing third in the team standings, while the men’s team set two meet records in its fourth-place team

Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois finished ahead of the men in the team standings, while the women finished behind Nebraska and Iowa but beat out Illinois.

“When you get four Big Ten teams together, you’re not going to have a lot of easy wins,” head men’s coach Steve Plasencia said. “I think we were pleased with the fact that we did get … a number of seasonal bests. And going into a championship like the Big Ten …, it should give those guys some motivation.”

The Gophers’ seniors led the women’s team. Maggie Bollig took first in the 1,500-meter run at 4:30.42, and Kelli Budd nabbed the 3,000-meter run title at 9:40.65. Megan Geyen won the 400-meter dash in 54.32 seconds.

“It was a little bit nerve-racking,” Geyen said of the conference opposition, “but it was really good [for] individual events just to see kind of where you’re at competition-wise.”

In the field, senior Katie Loberg placed first in the high jump at 1.70 meters. Minnesota’s lone freshman champion, Nicolle Murphy, took home the javelin honors at 46.80 meters.

While the women won a handful of titles, the times, heights and distances weren’t quite up to the standard the team would expect. Gophers women’s head coach Matt Bingle said the weather affected his team a bit.

“We fought through it,” he said. “They did fine, but it definitely was very, very windy. It changed the results.”

A senior-freshman field duo earned titles for the men’s team and achieved record-setting marks in the process. Senior Zach Siegmeier bested his personal record in the pole vault, setting a meet and facility record at 5.51 meters. He now ranks fourth all-time for Minnesota.

“[It was] a big deal for me to kind of break that 18-foot barrier,” Siegmeier said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever done it.”

Gophers freshman Gian Ferretti competed unattached, but his results weren’t overlooked. He threw 67.10 meters in the hammer throw, setting meet and facility records.