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Five win titles at Ole Miss meet

Gophers coach Gary Wilson said the pieces are falling into place for his team.

They passed the quiz.

But the more imposing midterm exam looms in the future.

Minnesota’s women’s track and field team competed at the Ole Miss Invitational on Saturday in Oxford, Miss., coming away from the 10-team event with five individual titles. No team scores were tabulated.

“We passed the quiz,” coach Gary Wilson said. “This is that one more step towards, to use the analogy, the mid-term exam.”

The Gophers also qualified two athletes for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in field events.

Freshman Liz Roehrig won the high jump with a school-record mark of 5-10 3/4 to qualify for the regional meet, and Andrea Smith qualified with a pole vault height of 12-11 1/2 Smith finished second.

Smith said having met the NCAA regional qualification standards this early in the season is a weight off of her mind.

“Now, there’s no pressure,” Smith said. “We just get to have fun.”

Rounding out Minnesota’s event winners were Emily Brown in the 1,500 meters, who bettered her personal best by six seconds with a 4:30.54; Melissa Steele in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:02.72; Ruby Radocaj with a throw of 153-2 in the javelin; and Jess Stephan with a throw of 146-7 in the discus.

“I think I did good for my second meet in my college career,” Radocaj said. “I’m pleased with my performance.”

In addition to the first-place and qualifying performances, Wilson also said he was pleased with the 4×400 relay team, which finished second with a time of 3:44.81.

Minnesota travels to Knoxville, Tenn., this week for the SEC vs. Big Ten Classic. There, the Gophers will face Kentucky, Penn State, Wisconsin and Tennessee, which represents a step up from what they faced in Mississippi.

“The level of competition’s going to go up five-fold,” Wilson said. “So we’ll see if we can handle that.”

But with the Ole Miss Invitational acting as a measuring stick, Wilson said his squad stacks up well – at least early in the course.

“In terms of the whole overall plan, it seems to be falling in place,” he said. “I was very pleased with the kids’ efforts.”

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