Men win six individual titles and qualify three for regional

Three Minnesota throwers had qualifying marks this weekend in California.

Matt Anderson

For Minnesota’s men’s track and field team, a split squad during the weekend meant a chance to use events as both warm-weather qualifiers and chances for oft-rested runners to get into competition.

The Gophers claimed six individual titles and added three more NCAA Midwest Region Championships qualifiers at the the Long Beach Invitational in Long Beach, Calif., and the Blugold Open in Eau Claire, Wis., on Saturday.

Senior thrower Andy Tilstra, along with sophomore throwers Adam Schnaible and Jesse Kovash, all earned regional qualifying marks in California.

Tilstra, who is already qualified in the discus, qualified for the hammer throw with a throw of 182-7. Schnaible won the shot put with his qualifying throw of 56-10, and Kovash threw 205-0 in the javelin to qualify for regionals.

Schnaible was joined in the Long Beach winners’ circle by teammate Curt Schoenfelder. Schoenfelder had a discus throw of 174-0 to win the event title.

“Now, we can start trying to tag some, and get good distances, and prepare ourselves for the conference mainly, and then regionals after that,” Schoenfelder said.

The Minnesota throwers were in California during the weekend partly because of the inability to throw in the upper Midwest during the spring.

Tilstra said the opportunity to throw in Long Beach was vital for the northern squad’s long throwers.

“It was like 75 this weekend or something,” he said. “There was nice weather, and sunny, just a lot better for your state of mind than practicing in a dreary, rainy, cold-wind meet. It really helps a lot.”

At the Blugold Open, Bryant Howe, Andy Newman, Joronne Williamson and David Kelley won individual titles.

Howe won the high jump with a 7-1 3/4 jump; Newman won the 100 meters in 10.91 seconds; Williamson finished first in the 110 hurdles in 14.79; and Kelley took the long jump with a leap of 23-7 1/2.

“For some of those guys who are the guys who are trying to move on to make a Big Ten team, I think we made some positive steps in that regard,” assistant coach Steve Plasencia said.

Two women win titles

Minnesota’s women’s track and field team won two titles with just a handful of athletes competing at the Lee Krough Invitational in St. Peter, Minn., and the Blugold Open.

Both of the Gophers’ titles came at the Lee Krough. Lauren Williams won the 5,000 meters in 17:52.00 – an event in which Minnesota swept the top four places. Jess Stephan took first in the hammer throw with a toss of 163-6.