Track teams look forward to NCAA indoor qualifiers

Jeff Colaizy

The Minnesota women’s track and field team heads into the outdoor season coming off of a school-best third-place finish at the Big Ten indoor championships.
While the majority of the team rests and mentally prepares for the outdoor season, a few individuals are traveling to an NCAA qualifying meet in Ames, Iowa, today.
Coach Gary Wilson said his team is taking the next few days to rest, gather its thoughts and start thinking about the outdoor season. “Some of our throwers have been going since August … we will take this time to evaluate the indoor season and look towards the outdoor season,” Wilson said.
Wilson says his team has a shot at winning the Big Ten outdoor title, with Indiana, the indoor champs, leading the way. He adds his team is better built for the outdoor season, with its strength in the throwers.
But today the focus is on NCAA qualifying for a few athletes. Corrinne Nimtz, a junior distance runner, will be attempting to qualify in the 5000-meter run. Other distance runners will be at Iowa State to try and earn an NCAA berth.
Nimtz believes a time of 16:54 in the 5000 meters should be good enough for a provisional qualification.
“I just want to have another solid race to end the indoor season,” Nimtz said.
Junior Aubrey Schmitt has already qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in Indianapolis on March 10-11. She also had two second-place finishes in the shot put and weight throw at the Big Ten indoor meet.
Beth Howard also qualified for the NCAA meet with her Big Ten championship in the weight throw. Senior Christine Gulbrandsen is a provisional qualifier in the triple-jump.

Men’s track and field
The Gophers are taking a few days off to prepare to defend their Big Ten outdoor title this spring. Last weekend the team traveled to Indiana for the Big Ten indoor championships and came out with a fourth-place finish.
Today, coach Phil Lundin will take his top athletes down to Ames for the NCAA qualifying meet.
Big Ten champion in the 600 meters, junior Tom Gerding will be one of the Gophers making the trip. Gerding was a provisional qualifier last year and has a solid chance of qualifying again this year.
Another NCAA hopeful is distance runner Andrew McKessock. The Big Ten indoor mile champ holds a strong provisional position in the NCAAs.
The Gophers will also send junior Mark Johannsen to compete in the high jump. Johannsen was a NCAA championship qualifier last year in the outdoor meet.