Track and field season heats up

David La

The promise that the snow will always melt away and the temperatures will eventually rise keeps Minnesotans — especially those who coach track and field — sane.
The Gophers’ outdoor men’s track and field season is again underway, and the defending Big Ten champions are ready to repeat.
“We’re not in a very strong situation right now, although guys are coming around (from injury),” coach Phil Lundin said. “We hope to have everybody back and ready to go by either the Drake Relays (April 23) or the Minnesota Classic (May 1).”
While Lundin would like to have his team at full strength for the aforementioned meets, his focus right now is on two of his “very good” decathletes. Junior Glenn Lindqvist and freshman Lyndon McDowell will travel to Walnut, Calif., to compete in the decathlon event in the Mt. Sac Relays.
The decathlon is a 10-event competition, requiring the athlete to display running, throwing and jumping skills. Both Lindqvist and McDowell had success at the Big Ten indoor championships but have slightly different agendas heading into this weekend.
“We are in a hard training period right now, so (Mt. Sac) is not supposed to be my top score of the season,” Lindqvist said.
“I’m expecting a really good meet,” McDowell said. “I’m looking for a personal record, actually. I’m ready to go.”
In order to accomplish his goals, McDowell will need to shore up an inauspicious performance in the pole vault event, which kept him from a top spot in the heptathlon (the seven-event sister to the decathlon) at the Big Ten indoors.
Lindqvist, on the other hand, need only get the proper rest, as he managed a surprisingly strong second-place finish in the heptathlon after only two hours sleep. The Finland native is enjoying a season that has met his expectations.
“This season has actually been my first in which I’m doing what I know I’ve been capable of doing for a long time,” Lindqvist said.
The rest of the team has shown what it’s capable of as well, specifically the high jumpers who took three out of the top four spots — including winner Marc Johannsen — last weekend at the Hayward Relays in Oregon.
The jumpers were complemented by strong showings from the throwers, as Justin Asher and Mark Fahey finished second and third in the discus.
Taking everything into account, Lundin remains confident yet pragmatic about what’s to come for his team.
“Every year we want to be competitive; we want to go for it,” Lundin said. “Some years you have to be realistic, but you still want to maximize the results.”