Gophers start outdoor season at Baldy Castillo Invitational

Minnesota had three athletes who finished second in events over the weekend.

Head men's track and field coach Steve Plasencia watches his team compete last February. Plasencia won his first five Big Ten championships with Minnesota from 2009-11 but finished second indoors and seventh outdoors this season.

Mark Vancleave, Daily File Photo

Head men’s track and field coach Steve Plasencia watches his team compete last February. Plasencia won his first five Big Ten championships with Minnesota from 2009-11 but finished second indoors and seventh outdoors this season.

Kaleb Medhanie

Redshirt sophomore Sammie Houston had a breakout performance for the Gophers in the triple jump.

Houston was one of three Minnesota players to finish runner up in their events. He broke a personal record in the triple jump at 50 feet, 10 inches. The distance cracked him into the top 10 of Gophers performances.

“At the time I was so focused on the competition that it didn’t really sink in,” Houston said. “I was super happy just to even be in the top 10 in Gophers history, I can’t even believe that.”

Houston and Minnesota opened the outdoor season at Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Arizona on March 16 and 17. Redshirt senior Ryan Lockard and redshirt freshman Alec Basten also finished second.

“We need to start to gather momentum in a good direction,” head coach Steve Plasencia said. “The young guys are learning the competition level, for them I think it is important each time we go out we continue to improve.”

Lockard finished second in the high jump at nearly 6 feet, 10 inches. Basten was first among Minnesota athletes in the 2,000-meter steeplechase and finished second overall with a time of 5:50.53. Redshirt freshman Nick Rink finished third in the steeplechase at 5:52.31. Redshirt freshman Jack Manderscheid finished fourth at 5:53.19.

The hammer throw went well for Minnesota over the weekend with two top-four finishes. Redshirt freshman Jon Nerdal paved the way with a personal record of 207 feet, 10 inches, giving him third in the event. Redshirt freshman Kieran McKeag threw a personal record of 203 feet, 1 inch, which awarded him fourth. The throws moved Nerdal and McKeag into eighth and ninth in program history.

The 800-meter also was a strong suit for Minnesota as the team had four top-six finishes. Redshirt freshman Lucas Trapp led the group in third with a race of 1:50.18. Junior Shane Streich came in at fourth at 1:51.26, freshman Dawson LaRance finished fifth at 1:53.21 and redshirt junior Matthew Rosen had a sixth-place finish of 1:55.13.

“I actually went out there with not much expectations,” Trapp said. “It was nice to kinda get out there and have success the first go around.”