Gophers overcome poor weather to break records

Minnesota head coach Matt Bingle said he was impressed with how his team handled the weather.

by Babatunde Jinadu

Severe weather put a premature end to the first day of the Duke Invitational track and field meet on Friday, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Gophers from taking six titles on day two at Morris Williams Track and Field Stadium.

The meet’s events were consolidated to ensure that the two-day meet could be completed in just one day. Virginia Tech and Duke University, along with some post-collegiate and professional competitors at the meet, offered fierce competition for the Gophers.

“Yesterday there [were] a couple tornadoes that touched down near here in the early evening. Today was probably in the fifties, with some pretty aggressive wind. So the first day was canceled, they rescheduled everything and then we went at it today,” director Matt Bingle said. “I thought over the two days, the team did good in some adverse weather. There’s plenty of work to be done, but I’m happy with the overall performance and attitude of everybody.”

On the women’s side, Minnesota had four champions: Lorean Murray in triple jump, Kiley Sabin in shot put, Amira Young in the 200-meter and Megan Hasz in the 5,000-meter.

For Murray, the first place jump of 13.02 meters was a career best. Meanwhile on the track, Young made a statement with a first place finish in the 200-meter dash in just 23.48 seconds.

“[Murray] continues to learn and get better every week, she’s been really coachable,” Bingle said. “[Young is] doing good, she found her composure and she’s been mature about competing. She continues to develop and as she gets stronger she has an opportunity to have a great career for us.”

Young has already begun to make a name for herself in her freshman season; she finished third in the 60-meter dash at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships.

“The weather was a bit wonky this weekend, it was raining a lot and it was cold,” Young said. “For the rest of the season, my goals are to finish healthy, place high in the 100-meter and 200-meter, get some more experience in the relay races and make it to the [NCAA] West Regional Championship meet.”

For the men’s team, throwers Kaleb Siekmeier and Jonathan Tharaldsen led the way, bringing home titles in the discus and shot put competitions respectively.

Siekmeier’s parents were both throwers at the University of Minnesota, and on Saturday his throw continued that family legacy, winning the event with a personal record of 55.12 meters.

In addition, Tharaldsen’s title set a new meet record at 18.82 meters.

The next meet on the schedule for the Gophers is the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa on April 26.

“Right now, we are just trying to get one percent better each day. Every day until the Big Ten [Outdoor Championship] … academically, we want to be one percent better, athletically, we want to be one percent better [and] we want to sleep one percent better. We want to do all of these things one percent better and then I feel like we’ll be in a good spot,” Bingle said. “That is the goal as we head into the end of the season. I think we’re slowly building each week and each day, I feel good about who we are and who we could become.”