Ferretti continues throwing success

by Grant Donald

After winning three hammer throw competitions in a row, junior Gian Ferretti came back to Earth on Saturday at the Triton Invitational in San Diego, Calif.
The Cascina, Italy, native finished third in the competition. Still, that didn’t damper Ferretti’s attitude on his impressive campaign.
“It was a really competitive field in San Diego, and I was able to hold my own,” Ferretti said. “I’ll learn from this experience, train and come back ready to compete before the Big Ten [championships].” 
Though Ferretti led Minnesota’s throwers throughout the weekend, senior Mark Jennings threw a personal best in the shot put, putting him in eighth place. Redshirt freshman Bryan Bjerk also recorded a top-10 finish in the discus.
While the throwers were soaking up the California sun, the rest of the Gophers were running in the rain at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. 
Despite the bleak weather, Minnesota put together a solid performance in the distance medley relay, finishing fourth overall.
“I believe that was our fastest time [in the distance medley] in years, so obviously I’m proud of that,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “They didn’t let the weather bother them. … Maybe it should rain every meet.”
Minnesota’s best performance at the Drake Relays came from All-American sophomore Luca Wieland.
Wieland, who won the heptathlon at the indoor national championships earlier this year, finished second in the decathlon on Thursday. Redshirt sophomore Jamie Crum also finished in the top 10.
“Luca and the rest of the decathlon competitors did a great job setting the tone for the rest of the weekend,” Plasencia said. “The rest of the team really got behind them, especially Luca since he was competing for a title.”
Women defend relay title
After finishing first in the 4×400-meter relay last year at the Triton Invitational, the Gophers didn’t loosen their grip on the title this year.
Though it was the only title the Gophers brought home, head coach Matt Bingle said the relay team’s performance was still credible.
“Repeating as champions at any meet is not the easiest thing to do,” he said. “The 4×400 [relay] has always been one of our stronger events. This year, though, they have the chance to do something pretty special.”
Though the Gophers only took home one title, they had a fair number of second-place finishes.
Redshirt sophomores Kailee Kamps and Erin Hawkins took second in the shot put and 200-meter dash, respectively. Minnesota’s 4×100-meter relay team also finished runner-up in its race.
The Gophers also had athletes competing at the Drake Relays over the weekend, which was highlighted by redshirt junior Kaila Urick’s second-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
“Track and field is probably the best sport to finish second in,” Bingle said. “The only time those second place finishes sting is at the Big Ten championships. Otherwise, it shows that we are close to creating something great.”