Studt an anchor as Minnesota’s top thrower

The sophomore has won two straight Big Ten weekly awards for shotput.

Nate Hackney

The Gophers men’s track team’s best and brightest will be in action this weekend, at meets around the country.

As the team heads down the stretch toward the Big Ten Conference Meet, they will face some tough competition, this weekend.

Most of the Gophers will stay in the Midwest, competing in the Musco Twilight Meet on the University of Iowa campus, led by sophomore standout thrower Aaron Studt.

Studt – winner of the last two Big Ten Field Event Athlete of the Week awards – will ride an impressive streak of success into the Iowa City meet.

Studt, who is currently ranked sixth in the nation in the shot put, with 62 feet, 7 1/2 inches, seems to be clicking at just the right time.

“It’s been pretty surreal to have a breakthrough, the way I have,” said the Ripon, Wis., native.

Coach Phil Lundin seems just as excited.

“I think, before it’s all said and done, he could be the best all-around thrower Minnesota has ever had,” Lundin said.

Five Gophers will also travel to sunny California to compete in the Peyton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University.

The group will be led by three All-American distance runners: sophomore Hassan Mead, junior Chris Rombough and senior Forrest Tahdooahnippah.

Rounded out by freshman Mike Torchia and junior steeple chaser Ben Puhl, the squad will face some of their stiffest competition of the season, including many postcollegiate athletes training for the Olympic Trials.

Rombough, however, sees it as an opportunity to gain an edge the distance runners hope to have, heading into the Big Ten meet.

“Confidence,” he said. “Stanford will have a lot of good competition and that will help us gain confidence going into Big Tens.”

Women compete in local midweek meet

Coming off a successful Drake Relays meet, the Gophers women, ranked No. 10 in the nation by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, enjoyed a break from unseasonably cold conditions as they competed in the St. Thomas Tommie Twilight meet Wednesday.

Freshman high-jumper Natalie Devine and senior pole vaulter Ashley Nord joined the long list of Gophers women to post NCAA Midwest Regional qualifying marks.

The Gophers women will also send a few athletes to the Musco Twilight Meet, as well as the Meet of the Unsaintly at Hamline University in St. Paul on Sunday.