Minnesota track teams to begin indoor season over the weekend

Michael Dougherty

Coming off a third place finish in the Big Ten, men’s indoor track and field coach Phil Lundin is conservatively approaching this Saturday’s Northwest Open at the University Fieldhouse.
Lundin, in his third year as head coach, is stressing a pacing program for his athletes.
“I would like to guide them through the proper training progressions,” he said, “because in track and field you just can’t play hurt like in other sports. It’s simply not a possibility.”
While the Northwest Open marks the beginning of the indoor season, Lundin downplays the importance of its results.
“Our focus is to see steady improvement as we head into the Big Ten Championships,” he said. “The Northwest Open is a great warm-up for us.”
Meanwhile, women’s coach Gary Wilson is spending his final week of preparation balancing both travel arrangements and practice schedules for his team’s upcoming season.
In his 13th season as head coach, Wilson echoes Lundin’s sentiments in regards to the importance of this weekend’s meet.
“With the outdoor season right on the heels of the indoor, the women face a long road,” he said. “We need to pace ourselves. Saturday’s meet will serve as way to get the kinks out.”
Wilson’s squad placed seventh last season in the Big Ten, but with the majority of his athletes returning, he hopes for a top three finish this year.
“I would like to see us finish in the top three,” he said, “and with 88 percent of our team returning for the 1999 season, I expect to make a title run next year.”
With many Division II schools like North Dakota State and Mankato State competing this weekend, Wilson is concentrating on the hurdles, the jumps, and the throwing events.
Included in the throwing events, is the 20-pound weight throw. This event is of particular interest to Wilson, as is the pole vault.
“While these events are used at the NCAA Championships, the Big Ten still doesn’t use them,” he said. “But they will finally be implemented for next year.”

Men’s and women’s gymnastics
Co-head coaches Jim and Meg Stephenson’s women’s gymnastics squad faces a tough Alabama team Saturday night at the Sports Pavilion.
In their first meet of the season the women will face the team that edged them out for ninth place at last year’s NCAA Championships, so the competition will have a little extra meaning.
Meanwhile, Saturday afternoon will serve as the beginning of the season for the men’s gymnastic team, as it opens the season with its annual alumni meet at 1 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion.
Looking to capture his 12th Big Ten Championship, head coach Fred Roethlisberger begins his 27th season at the helm by facing an alumni squad led by his son John.
John, a two-time Olympian, leads an alumni team which has never lost in this annual meet.
The team, with eight of 10 letter winners returning, heads to Chicago for next Saturday’s Windy City Invitational.