Gophers qualify nine in trip down South

Nine University of Minnesota womenâÄôs and menâÄôs track and field members took NCAA regional qualifying spots in their first outdoor track meet of the season. On Saturday, both teams competed in the Tiger Classic in Auburn, Ala., and senior Liz Roehrig competed in Arizona. For the women, senior Heather Dorniden, junior Alicia Rue, sophomore Samantha Sonnenberg, junior Felicitas Mensing, senior Amanda Solberg and Roehrig each notched NCAA qualifying standards this weekend. Dorniden ran her first race of the outdoor season and won it. She took first in the 1500-meter race with a time of 4:26:09. Rue and Sonnenberg cleared 12-7 1/2 in the pole vault, taking home first and second place, respectively, in the event. Mensing ran her first 3000-steeple chase in a Minnesota uniform and finished third. Solberg took fourth in the discus with a throw of 47.71 meters. However, that list almost grew to five several times when first-year Nyoka Giles came close to the standard in her races. Giles earned two Minnesota top-ten list times in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Her best performance was in the 200-meter sprint, where she was the top collegiate runner . Her time of 24.15 seconds was the fourth fastest in school history. Giles was the second leg of the 4×100-meter relay that took second . The team of first-year Chimerem Okoroji, Giles, junior Chioma Omeoga and first-year Kylie Peterson were .19 of a second of the NCAA regional qualifying mark, which is 45.70 seconds . While the rest of the team was in Alabama, Roehrig was doing fine on her own in the Jim Click Shootout in Arizona. Going into the meet, Roehrig wanted beat the NCAA automatic qualifying standard of 5500 points. She had personal bests in the 100-meter hurdles and shot put . At the end of the competition, she broke her own school record by two points and won the event with 5,857 points, easily beating the NCAA qualifying standard . Even though there was a lot of success this weekend, coach Matt Bingle said there is still a lot of work to be done. âÄúOverall, we had a good meet as a team,âÄù he said. âÄúWe had some solid performances be we are still in early-season form. WeâÄôre looking forward to getting home and putting in some hard work in practice.âÄù Men qualify three On the menâÄôs side of things, junior Matt Fisher cleared 7-4 1/2 in the high jump to earn his qualifier. His leap was the third-best in school history. Fisher finished second in the competition, behind professional high jumper Donald Thomas, the 2007 world champion. Junior Joe Plencner earned a qualifying mark in the pole vault when he cleared a height of 16-8 3/4 and took second in the event . Junior Aaron Studt finished fifth in the hammer throw with a toss of 187-9, which earned him the GopherâÄôs third qualifier of the meet.