4×400 men’s relay team qualifies for NCAA meet

The Minnesota 4×400-meter relay team of Mikael Jakobsson, Adam Steele, Robb Merritt and Mitch Potter automatically qualified for the NCAA championships and placed second in the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. The team ran a time of 3:05.82, its fastest time this season by nearly three seconds.

Merritt and Jakobsson also provisionally qualified in the 400-meter dash. Merritt finished seventh with a time of 46.84 seconds while Jakobsson placed ninth in a time of 47.04.

Four other Gophers recorded top-six finishes. John Albert cleared 6 feet 11 1/2 inches to finish fourth in the high jump, Karl Erickson landed a throw of 57-3 to place sixth in the shot put, Travis Brandstatter crossed the finish line in 8.06 seconds for sixth place in the 60-meter hurdles and Neil Hanson was sixth in the mile run in 4:06.99.

Women’s track and field

Freshman Molly Hupp and senior Rachel Schutz placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 600-meter dash to highlight the Minnesota women’s track and field team’s performance at the Iowa State Classic.

Hupp placed third with a time of 1:23.02, barely edging Schutz, who was in fourth with a time of 1:23.05.

Liz Alabi topped the Gophers’ finishers in the field events, placing sixth in the shot put with a throw of 48 feet 1 3/4 inches.

Men’s gymnastics

Minnesota’s men’s gymnastics team lost its dual to Michigan 214.600-209.350 in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday. Despite losing to the Wolverines, junior Guillermo Alvarez did claim the all-around title with a score of 53.475.

Alvarez won the floor exercise with a mark of 9.40 and the pommel horse with a score of 9.250. He placed third on the vault with a 9.450 and fourth on the parallel bars with an 8.725.

Junior Clinton Mays was solid as well, finishing third on the still rings with an 8.90 and fourth on the vault with a 9.325.

Senior Mitch Griffin finished second behind Alvarez on the pommel horse with an 8.90 and took fifth on parallel bars with an 8.60.

Other top finishers included senior Gabe Suarez, who took fourth on the rings with an 8.850, and senior Jeff Cohen, who earned a fourth-place finish on the pommel horse with an 8.70. Freshman Jacob Lee claimed fifth place on the floor with a score of 8.750.

The Gophers travel to Oklahoma on Feb. 21 to face the Sooners and Nebraska at 2 p.m. in a triangular meet.

Women’s gymnastics

Minnesota’s 24th-ranked women’s gymnastics team lost to 20th-ranked Penn State in a dual competition at University Park, Pa., on Saturday, 195.100-195.075. The Gophers posted higher scores on bars (48.700-48.325) and beam (48.600-48.475), but fell to Penn State on vault (48.650-48.900) and floor exercise (49.125-49.400).

Minnesota sophomore Laura Johnson captured the all-around title with a score of 39.275. She tied senior teammate Mary Skokut and Lion Genavieve Shingle for first on the balance beam with a 9.825. She also finished second on the parallel bars (9.80) and third on the vault (9.825).

Other top performers for the Gophers included junior Carolyn Yernberg, who tied Penn State’s Lisa Clark for first on the vault with a 9.850. She later added a third-place finish on the floor exercise (9.90).

Freshman Stephanie Funk took fourth place on the bars with a 9.775, and senior Alicia Opsahl was fourth on the beam with a 9.775. Skokut tied for second on bars with a 9.80 after tying for first on the beam.

The women host Iowa State at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Sports Pavilion.