Minnesota finishes Border Battle on top

It was the first dual meet between the two programs in 37 years.

Grant Donald

As with most things that haven’t happened for 37 years, the dual meet between Wisconsin and Minnesota has some wrinkles that need to be ironed out moving forward.

However, fixing the men’s rivalry trophy probably wasn’t high on the list of anticipated problems.

As the Gophers took their victory lap with the new trophy after a dominating 98-59 victory over Wisconsin, somewhere, somehow, the trophy broke.

“I don’t know exactly who broke it or when it happened,” redshirt freshman sprinter Brad Neumann said. “It’s definitely fixable.”

Neumann played a crucial part in the Gophers’ victory, as he won the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. The victories give Neumann four in his two meets this season.

“Brad has been developing nicely for us,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “We have had some good sprinters in the past and his progression at this point, it looks like he can be a high-caliber sprinter over the next couple of years.”

To go along with Neumann’s two titles, the Gophers came away victorious in nine other events and 11 of 15 events overall.

Minnesota’s domination wasn’t limited to the track, as they edged out the Badgers in four of the six field events led by junior Luke Johnson’s personal record in the shot put.

“[Wisconsin] had a nice crowd out there, but we kind of silenced them,” Plasencia said. “To have the number of spectators that did come out for the border battle was something that [we] as track coaches want to continue to see happen down the road.”

Women edge Badgers 85-77

While the men coasted to their victory, the women’s team faced a much closer contest, but they  came away with a trophy of their own.

Minnesota was victorious in eight events, led by redshirt sophomore Erin Hawkins who won the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.

Hawkins’ times in both races were personal records and moved her to sixth among Gophers all-time in both races.

“The girls laid everything on the line and really wanted to beat Wisconsin,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “It was a really good day to be a Gopher.”

Freshman Emma Spagnola finished second in the 60-meter hurdles, but she was still able to set the Gophers all-time record in the event with a time of 8.57 seconds.

“It’s an honor to have my name in the record books during my first year,” Spagnola said. “At the same time, I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to win the race. There is obviously room for improvement.”