First outdoor event a learning experience

Brian Deutsch

As he watched the final events of Saturday’s Georgia Relays, Minnesota men’s track and field coach Phil Lundin wasn’t fazed by the struggles his team saw in its first outdoor event of the season.

“I’m generally not impressed by our first meets,” he said. “It’s always a little rough and raggedy.”

While the Gophers in general were a little rough around the edges, two members of the Minnesota squad put on outstanding performances.

Senior Adam Schnaible and freshman Aaron Studt both qualified for the NCAA Midwest Region Championships.

Schnaible earned his spot in the May competition with a hammer throw of 197-6, placing fourth Saturday while sophomore Andy Bastian finished fifth with a career-high 182-1.

Studt, who finished third in the shot put event with a toss of 58 feet, 11 inches, saw plenty of success in just his first career outdoor event.

Aside from qualifying for regionals, the freshman also shattered the previous Minnesota freshman shot put record set by Karl Erickson in 2002.

Studt’s toss exceeded the old record by one foot, four inches, but breaking records wasn’t a priority for the team according to him.

“The goal for this weekend was to get a lot of reps in,” he said. “With a little more time and reps, we’ll improve our throws.”

Women start season strong

Not to be outdone by the men’s team, the Minnesota women’s track team had three throwers qualify for the NCAA Midwest Region Championships after the Gophers put on a stellar performance this weekend at the Shamrock Invitational.

Junior Ruby Radocaj, sophomore Kari Schmidt and senior Liz Alabi all posted scores that qualified the trio for regionals, and each recorded a top-three finish in their respective events this weekend.

Radocaj took home top honors in the javelin with a throw of 149 feet, nine inches while Schmidt placed first in the shot put with a throw of 47-3 1/2.

Alabi rounded out the qualifiers with a third-place finish in the hammer throw with a mark of 192-7.

Overall, Minnesota recorded 14 top-three finishes in South Carolina, including four first place finishes.

“It was good to open up with a competition like this,” coach Matt Bingle said. “It’s definitely an encouragement for the team.”

Sophomore Gabriele Anderson finished first in the 1500 meter run with a time of four minutes, 28.78 seconds, edging out teammates, freshman Elizabeth Yetzer and senior Julie Schwengler, who finished second and third respectively.

The three found success together in the distance medley relay when they teamed up with sophomore Ayla Mitchell and won with a time of 12:00.63.

Indoor Championship recap

The men’s team tied for 16th at the NCAA Indoor Championships one week ago.

Senior Aaron Buzard led the way for Minnesota, which picked up 12 points in the competition, by picking up a second-place finish in the 400 meter dash and earning his third All-American honor.

Sophomore Ibrahim Kabia was also named as an All-American after finishing fifth in the 60-meter dash.

Both All-Americans improved their school records in their respective events – Kabia broke his record twice at the championships.

Senior Derek Gearman closed out his indoor career with a 12th place finish in the high jump.

The women’s team finished with a tie for 34th place at the Indoor Championships, earning six overall points in the competition.

Sophomore Heather Dorniden’s third-place performance in the 800-meter run was a high point for the Gophers.

Dorniden earned All-American honors after posting a time of 2:04.87, while Alabi landed a ninth-place finish in the weight throw.

“Each year the goal is to win the Big 10 Championships,” Bingle said. “Nationals are just a bonus Ö you never know what is going to happen.”