Gophers men split up roster seekingfurther progress

There are Minnesota track athletes in California and Wisconsin this week.

Matt Anderson

Minnesota men’s track and field coach Phil Lundin admits this weekend’s schedule presents a logistical hassle.

In the span of three days, the Gophers will compete at three different locations.

Wednesday and Thursday, the team’s decathletes competed at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. Today and Saturday, the team’s long throwers will join the decathletes in Long Beach, Calif., for the Long Beach Invitational. And Saturday in Eau Claire, Wis., the team’s distance runners will be at the Wisconsin-Eau Claire Open.

Lundin said the dispersion of his team this week and next weekend is caused by the needs of the different groups of athletes.

“It’s kind of organized chaos,” he said. “You have to sometimes do that to put the various event groups in position to have good competitions. Sometimes, one site doesn’t offer everyone what’s required.”

For the Gophers’ long throwers, the trip to California is a result of the climate in Minnesota.

The indoor season, combined with a cold outdoor winter, means that for the Minnesota long throwers, winter competition is tough to come by.

Lundin said the Long Beach Invitational presents the Gophers’ long throwers with a key opportunity to make the most of their limited competitions.

Senior thrower Andy Tilstra, who has already qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regional in the discus, said the weekend in Long Beach gives him a chance to qualify again.

“Probably the biggest thing I guess would be a regional qualifying mark in the hammer,” Tilstra said. “That would be my number one priority.”

Women rest, Eau Claire

The majority of Minnesota’s women’s track and field team is taking this weekend off, but 22 athletes will go to the Wisconsin-Eau Claire Open on Saturday.

Coach Gary Wilson said most of the athletes competing at the open haven’t yet been on the road this year. The rest of the team will have a break.

“This is kind one of those midseason, ‘OK, let’s regroup and get ready to go’ weekends, because we’re only 30 days away from Big Tens,” Wilson said.

For the athletes competing at Eau Claire, who will run at four meets in the next 21 days, this weekend is an important kickoff to the rest of their season, Wilson said.

“We always have done this, because the kids that need to develop and need to have opportunities get that in this kind of a schedule,” he said. “And so that’s what we look for.”