Abda and Pachuta qualify for the NCAA Championships

Both ran sub-1:47.30 in the 800-meter run to automatically qualify for the March meet.

Megan Ryan

The University of Minnesota menâÄôs track team won the Bill Bergan Invitational in record-breaking fashion Saturday at Iowa State.

No. 18 Minnesota collected 62 points. No. 14 Kansas State and No. 15 Wisconsin followed in the standings with 51.5 and 48.5 points, respectively.

âÄúThe highlight for our squad was Harun Abda and David Pachuta who went one-two in the 800 meter, both of them just under 1:47. That obliterates the school record,âÄù head coach Steve Plasencia said. âÄúThose are the two best times in the NCAA this year and may even be the best in the world this year.âÄù

Abda broke his own record set last March of 1:47.87. More importantly for the junior, his time of 1:46.97 means he automatically qualifies for the NCAA Championship meet on March 9 and 10. His senior teammate PachutaâÄôs time of 1:46.98 does likewise.

âÄúWe train together every day and he is always on my shoulder. In the last 100 meters we were just going after each other. HeâÄôs pushing me and at the same time IâÄôm pushing him. ThatâÄôs how we end up running faster,âÄù Abda said.

âÄúThe past two years IâÄôve been going to the national 800 by myself. This year I finally have a friend so IâÄôm really excited.âÄù

Abda said he now doesnâÄôt have to worry about qualifying for nationals and instead can focus on his other events, like the 4×400-meter and distance medley relay.

Besides Abda and Pachuta, juniors Travis Burkstad and Nick Hutton also finished first and second in the mile. Junior Cameron Boy placed second in the 200-meter-dash and third in the 60-meter-dash. Juniors Kevin Bradley and John Holton raced to second and third place in the 400-meter dash.

The GophersâÄô 4×400-meter relay team of sophomore Jacob Capek, Bradley, Holton and Abda also won its race.

MinnesotaâÄôs top finisher on the field was junior Oladipo Fagbemi in part because the team rested all of its throwers. Fagbemi finished second in the triple jump and third in the long jump.

The men will compete next weekend at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb.


The womenâÄôs track team competed at the Minnesota State Open in Mankato, Minn., over the weekend among mostly Division II opponents.

Team scores were not recorded, just individual results.

Redshirt freshman Rachel Melum and sophomore Melissa Flucke tied for first place in the high jump at 1.65 meters.

The team will meet more intense competition Friday and Saturday at the Meyo Invitational hosted by Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.