Buzard paces men’s team at Gold Country Classic

Minnesota men’s track and field sophomore Aaron Buzard said he entered the 600-meter dash of Saturday’s Gold Country Classic with “no expectations.”

Had he, however, there’s little chance he would have disappointed himself.

Buzard set a new meet record in the event Saturday at the Field House with a time of 1:18.00, breaking the old record of 1:18.45, set by Texas’ Corey Cotton in 1994.

Buzard said he definitely felt stronger than usual during the race.

“I had more stamina,” he said. “I thought Ö after the 400 (meter mark), I feel like I’m dead. But I felt stronger after crossing the 400. I had 200 to go. I felt stronger today.”

Buzard was the standout performer for the men’s team Saturday not only for his performance in the 600, but also for his final leg of the 4×400 relay.

In that race, Buzard was able to catch a Wisconsin-La Crosse runner during his leg, pass him and bring home the win for the team, which also included freshman Mason Anderson, senior Vince Donahoe and sophomore Owete Omot. The Gophers won with a time of 3:16.40.

“I just wanted to gradually try and catch the guys,” Buzard said. “I didn’t know what kind of kicks they would do, but I just wanted to get up there and contend with them a little bit.”

Coach Phil Lundin said of Buzard: “For a big guy like Aaron to run as fast as he does on a 200-meter flat track, it just goes to show you that he is very, very talented.

“It should be exciting to see how he develops.”

Buzard was not alone in the winners’ circle, however, as three other Gophers turned in victories Saturday.

Junior Erik Grumstrup claimed first in the mile run (4:07.84); Joronne Williamson won the 60 hurdles (8.17 seconds); and freshman Hans Storvick won the 800 run (1:56.24).

Lundin said he believes that the team is progressing nicely.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” he said. “We’re not as strong, team-wise, as we were last year. But I think the kids are improving, coming along.”

Women win five events

Minnesota’s women’s track and field team had a solid day Saturday at the Gold Country Classic, winning just as many events (five) as the men’s team.

Women’s winners included freshman Katie Grundman in the 400 dash (57.63); Mollie Hupp in the 600 dash (1:32.06); Sarah Nelson in the long jump (18 feet, 7 inches); and freshman Christin Kingsley in the triple jump (38 feet, 3/4 inch).

The 4×400 relay team also took home first place in a time of 3:50.33.

“I just think this is another stepping stone,” women’s coach Gary Wilson said. “People are just getting better and better every week, and they’re getting more comfortable.”