Men beat No. 1 team, tie for first

The women also competed indoors at the Tom Cat Open.

Megan Ryan

The Gophers men’s track and field team beat the No. 1 team in the nation and tied the No. 2 team Saturday at the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.

No. 22 Minnesota tallied 137 team points to tie for first with Arkansas and edge out third-place Texas A&M with 129 team points.

“Texas A&M and Arkansas have some quality teams, and so to get into the hunt with them is a good performance,” head coach Steve Plasencia said.

Minnesota had only two first-place finishes, but most of the team’s 30-man contingent stepped up into scoring position.

Senior Harun Abda won the 800-meter run in 1:48.66, and sophomore Mark Jennings won the shot put with a personal-record throw of 17.36 meters.

“We have a really young group with two freshmen and two sophomores,” Jennings said. “In the shot put, that’s kind of rare to see four guys throwing as far as we do, especially so early in our careers.”

Junior Zach Siegmeier also set a new personal record in the pole vault with his second-place height of 5.31 meters. Other second-place finishers in the field were senior Micah Hegerle in the hammer throw, sophomore Logan Connors in the javelin and sophomore Dominique Howard in the discus throw. Senior Oladipo Fagbemi was third in the triple jump.

Redshirt freshman Aaron Bartnik placed second in the 3,000-meter run, as did junior Jacob Capek in the 400-meter dash. Junior John Simons finished second in the 1,500-meter run, and juniors Bobby Nicolls and Derek Storkel finished second and third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Minnesota’s 4×400-meter relay placed third.

While most of the men’s team escaped the spring snow in Minnesota, some men’s athletes and the women’s team competed indoors at the Tom Cat Open.

Due to the weather, Concordia canceled its meet, and St. Thomas decided to host an indoor meet.

Minnesota head women’s coach Matt Bingle said his team is used to switching from outdoor to indoor training and meets this season, so having the meet indoors wasn’t too much of a setback.

“A lot of the women haven’t competed in a while, so it was good for them to get in there and compete and get a race in even though it was inside,” Bingle said. “It’s good training.”

From the men’s team, senior Adam Isakson tied for first in the pole vault at 4.95 meters.

The women had five event wins, including several sweeps.

Junior Laura Docherty won the 1,500-meter run in 4:28.54 and led a top-five Gophers sweep of the event.

Senior Rachel Edwards won the 3,000-meter run, leading a top-three sweep at 10:27.67.

Redshirt freshman Anne Ferguson placed first in the 800 at 2:15.60, and teammate sophomore Jillian Johnson placed third.

Junior Missa Varpness won the 5,000-meter run in 17:19.58, followed by junior Rachel Drake in third.

Senior basketball forward Katie Loberg topped the high jump field at 1.68 meters in her first meet with the Gophers.