Women’s track up for 1st scored meet

Michael Dougherty

Coming off two impressive performances in a row, Gophers redshirt freshman Aubrey Schmitt leads the women’s track & field team in this Saturday’s Minnesota Classic. The meet will begin at 1 p.m. at the Minnesota Field House.
Schmitt, a native of Hastings, Minn., has taken first in the shot put at both the Northwest Open and last weekend’s Badger Classic. She also took first in the 20 pound weight throw at the Badger Classic and second at the Northwest Open.
As the Gophers approach their first team-scored meet of the season, coach Gary Wilson is clearly happy with the early and surprising success of Schmitt.
“I first saw her at a meet when she was in high school,” said Wilson. “She had only been throwing for six weeks, so it was clear to us that she was a raw talent.”
Schmitt came to the University on a partial scholarship and was redshirted last year. But her rapid development has brought her to the forefront in the throwing events.
Assistant coach Lynne Anderson, in her 17th season at Minnesota, has a reputation as being one of the most successful throws coaches in the nation.
So when Wilson says, “Lynne says that she’s one of the best that she has ever coached,” it is clear that Schmitt has all-American potential.
Anderson’s history of success is highlighted by her coaching of 15 all-Americans and 13 Big Ten Champions, including back-to-back NCAA runners-up in the javelin, Heather Berlin in 1995 and Tanya Simonsen in 1996.
Saturday’s meet, which will include Division I schools Marquette, Iowa and Wisconsin as well as the University of Manitoba, will be the first in which the majority of Wilson’s team will compete.
Things are a little different on the men’s side, however. The Gophers will be hosting the Minnesota Invitational prior to the women’s meet on Saturday. Their meet, also at the Field House, will begin at 9:30 a.m.
In order to have the invitational classification, no team scores will be kept. And that is exactly how men’s coach Phil Lundin wants it.
“Having it an invitational allows a much wider field to compete,” he said. “The better the competition the more my athletes benefit.”
Lundin, in his third season as head coach, will have his largest contingent performing to date. However, some of his stronger athletes will be held out because of nagging injuries. Marcus Westberry, who won the triple jump at the Badger Classic, will not compete because of a slight hamstring injury.
But Lundin still looks for some good competition in the throws and the middle distance and distance races.
Women’s gymnastics

Co-head coach Jim Stephenson sees this weekend’s meets as a chance for some fine tuning for his women’s gymnastics team.
Stephenson’s squad, coming off a huge win over defending Big Ten champion Michigan, will head to Ames, Iowa, for Friday’s meet with Iowa State. They will then travel to Iowa City for a tilt with the Hawkeyes on Sunday.
“These are two teams which we should easily defeat,” Stephenson said. “What we need to focus on is improving our overall team score.”
National rankings are based solely on the average team score, and Minnesota, ranked fourth last week, has dropped to seventh in the current rankings.
Penn State, a team Stephenson considers the Gophers’ top competition for the Big Ten title, is ranked third.
“Penn State has been scoring real well,” Stephenson said, “so we need to improve our team scoring to compete with them.”