Kieran McKeag, 4×400 team shine for Minnesota in Sun Angel Classic

The 4×400 meter relay team ran 3:05.78 to win the event.

Gophers Jackson Wellenstein, Ben Psicihulis, and Matthew Baker compete in the 4x400-meter relay during the Border Battle on Jan. 13.

Maddy Fox, Daily File Photo

Gophers Jackson Wellenstein, Ben Psicihulis, and Matthew Baker compete in the 4×400-meter relay during the Border Battle on Jan. 13.

by Kaleb Medhanie

Improvement has been a key factor for Minnesota this season.

Kieran McKeag has had continued success in the hammer throw during outdoor season. This week was his third straight week of setting a personal record in the event, as he finished second in the premier hammer throw with a mark of 209 feet, 10 inches. Jon Nerdal finished seventh at 196 feet.

The Gophers competed in Tempe, Arizona for the second time in three weeks at the Sun Angel Classic on Friday and Saturday.

“I think that this is what happens when a lot of work get puts into an event and he [Kieran Mckeag] and coach [Matt Conly] have been working diligently,” associate head coach Paul Thornton said. “What we see right now is the culmination of work and that’s one thing Kieran hasn’t shied away from is working hard.”

Connor Rousemiller threw a personal record in the open hammer throw with an attempt of 194 feet to win the event.

“I think that having this entire year to be healthy and technically developed without any injury has been huge for me,” Rousemiller said. “I’ve seen really big progress in my technique and I’ve been able to hit hard in the weight room and that’s been big for me I think.”

Minnesota also had three third place finishers as Ryan Lockard went for third in the open high jump at 7 feet. Jonathan Tharaldsen threw 59 feet, 4 inches in the premier shot put. He also went for fifth in the open discuss with a mark of 167 feet, 11 inches, and the 4×100 team ran a time of 40.75.

Mason Roomes finished seventh in the open long jump with a jump of 23 feet, 2 inches. Sammie Houston took fifth in the open triple jump at 49 feet, 3 inches. Zach Nelson ran 10.86 in the 100 meters to finish ninth for the Gophers.

The Gophers 4×400 meter relay team consisting of Jonathan Webb, Matthew Baker, Ben Psicihulis and Jackson Wellenstein recorded a time of 3:05.78 and won the event, which puts them at sixth all time in program history and is the 10th fastest time in the nation all year. 

Baker also ran the 400 meter hurdles and finished fifth at 52.02, he broke his personal record and moved to fourth in Minnesota history at the event. Psicihulis ran the open 400 meters at 47.62, he broke a personal record and finished seventh. 

“We know we had potential to run super fast and we just want to be consistent this year we kind of had a lack of consistency at the indoor national meet and that was a let down,” Wellenstein said. “Coming into this outdoor season, we were really looking to improve on it, that’s a really good early season time and that’s going to hold at the regional mark, too.”