Gophers have five first-place finishers

Minnesota’s men’s and women’s track & field teams took part in the Power Five Invitational.

by Owen Mageau

The Minnesota men’s and women’s track & field teams traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Power Five Invitational on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3. 

For the women’s team, the name — Power Five — was fitting.

The No. 11 Gophers had five first-place finishes and an additional six top three finishes. 

“I thought it was a good weekend for the team,” head coach Matt Bingle said Saturday. “A lot of lessons learned and steps forward, so I talked to the team and said we did a lot of good things, but everyone has something to work on.”

On the track, Minnesota got wins from Val Larson in the 600 meters, Megan Hasz in the 5,000 meters and the 4-x-400 meter relay team of Larson, Emerald Egwim, Rachel Schow and Titania Markland. 

Bingle was especially pleased with Larson’s performance.

“She had a great weekend and it gave her a lot of confidence moving forward hopefully,” Bingle said. “She’s learning every time she gets out, just getting a tougher mindset about everything and growing every week. It’s exciting when you see a young athlete do that.”

On the field, Minnesota had two events where they emerged victorious. Heta Tuuri won the high jump with a jump of 5 feet, 10.5 inches and Agnes Esser won the seeded weight throw with a mark of 67 feet, 11.5 inches. 

The throws were an area of strength for the Gophers over the weekend. In addition to Esser’s victory Kaitlyn Long came in third with a mark of 66 feet, 11.5 inches. 

“In the throws group, I thought it was a consistent weekend,” Bingle said. “They did well there.”

Webb excels for men’s team

The men had some success as well; they just didn’t emerge from the weekend with as many first-place finishers as the women did. Minnesota had just one event in which they emerged victorious. That came in the 200 meters, where Jonathan Webb won with a time of 21.20 seconds. 

In addition to Webb’s victory, Minnesota had three second place finishes and two third place finishes. Freshman Ben Psicihulis placed second in 600 meters with a time of 1:18.75, fellow freshman Dawson LaRance placed second in the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.00 and Ryan Lockard took second in the high jump with a jump of 7 feet, 2.5 inches.

In the 60 meter hurdles, sophomore Jon Tollefson took third with a time of 8.14 seconds. Minnesota took third in the 4-x-400m relay as well. The team of Webb, Psicihulis, Jackson Wellenstein and Josh Tracey finished with a time of 3:10.25.

Both Gopher teams will be back in action on Friday at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa.