Minnesota faces stiff competition in Iowa

Zach Siegmeier and Jon Lehman took home titles.

by Jack Satzinger

The Gophers men’s track and field team has had its fair share of success this season, taking home several individual titles per meet.

That didn’t happen this weekend against much stiffer competition at the Iowa State Classic and Washington Husky Invite.

Minnesota still brought home two individual titles, courtesy of Zach Siegmeier and Jon Lehman.

Siegmeier won the pole vault with a mark of 5.35 meters. That height tied Siegmeier’s personal best, which he set two weeks ago at the Bill Bergan Invitational.

“I really like to compete against other people,” Siegmeier said. “I love getting new personal bests and everything, but when it comes down to big meets, conference meets, national meets, I’d rather win than jump a new personal best.”

That competitive attitude has Siegmeier looking toward an NCAA indoor championship appearance.

Siegmeier said there are still some technical things he needs to work on to get there, but his improvement has been undeniable.

“He came from a junior college three years ago and has really developed into a good vaulter,” head coach Steve Plasencia said.

Lehman easily won the weight throw at 22.05 meters. Lehman set a school record in the event last month at 22.09 meters and said he knows he can do even better.

A handful of the Gophers’ distance runners ran at the Washington Husky Invite in Seattle with John Simons leading the pack.

Simons ran a shade under four minutes at 3:59.38 to place fifth.

Women improving

The Gophers women’s team won only one title at the Iowa State Classic, but head coach Matt Bingle said he thinks his team is headed in the right direction.

“We had a lot of season bests and personal bests,” Bingle said. “We still have to do a couple things over the next few weeks, and some of it is just resting.”

Maggie Bollig was responsible for the lone title, finishing first in the 1,000-meter run.

Alena Brooks finished fifth in the 800-meter run but broke the national record for her native Trinidad and Tobago.

Devin Stanford threw a personal record 18.92 meters in the weight throw.

Megan Geyen also had a personal record in the 400-meter dash at 54.41 seconds.

“She’s really starting to come along,” Bingle said. “She’s training well. I’m excited for her.”

The Gophers are just two weeks away from the Big Ten indoor championships, and Bingle said the team should be prepared.

“Over the last three weeks or so, I think we’ve seen a lot of positive things happen,” Bingle said. “Now it just comes down to fine tuning.”