Carleton Relays a chance to ‘tuneup’

After spending the last three weeks flying from Raleigh, N.C., to Austin, Texas, to Eugene, Ore., most of Minnesota’s men’s track and field team is staying close to home this weekend.

On Saturday, the Gophers will compete in the Carleton Relays in Northfield, Minn., in what coach Phil Lundin calls “a tuneup for the Drake Relays.”

“We’re taking a pretty big bunch down there,” Lundin said. “The throwers are training hard through the week and will use Saturday as a technical session. Some horizontal jumpers will be doing sprint events.”

One of those jumpers is junior Steffen Landgraf.

Last season, Landgraf finished second in the Big Ten outdoor meet in the long jump.

At Carleton he will compete in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the discus.

Landgraf participates in multievents during the indoor season but concentrates on long jumping in order to score the most team points at the Big Ten outdoor meet.

Landgraf said sprinting at the Carleton Relays will help build speed to his long jumping.

“If you want to jump far, you have to be fast,” Landgraf said. “This will be speed development for my approach.”

Several other Gophers will take this weekend off to rest for the Drake Relays, held next week.

However, senior sprinter Mitch Potter will be making his first appearance of the outdoor season, running the 200-meter dash.

Potter has not competed in this outdoor season yet because of a stress-related injury to his left fibula.

He said the injury occurred during the indoor season from the tight turns on the smaller track.

“But everything is going well now,” Potter said.

After coaching him for four seasons, Lundin said he is getting used to Potter fighting injuries around the time of the Drake Relays.

“Mitch is coming,” Lundin said. “He’s done some strong workouts and some hill training. It’s not unusual for Mitch Potter.”

After the Carleton Relays, Lundin said he hopes his team will continue to move forward from the Drake Relays to the big meets late in the season.

“All the event groups seem to be coming around,” Lundin said. “You always get a little panicky because five weeks from the Big Ten, you certainly want to be farther ahead. But it’s pretty much the norm, given the transitional element from indoor to out and the weather and travel.”

Brandstatter travels

The one Minnesota trackster utilizing frequent flyer miles this weekend is junior Travis Brandstatter.

He traveled to Walnut, Calif., to compete in the decathlon in the Mt. SAC Relays.

Lundin said he is optimistic about Brandstatter’s development in the event as the year progresses.

“Indoors we were disappointed because he just missed going to nationals,” Lundin said. “He certainly has the ability and the individual marks to be a top-10 (decathlete) in the U.S.”