Gophers use rankings as motivation to beat Badgers

No. 13 Minnesota defeated No. 11 Wisconsin in the The Dual Saturday.

Redshirt senior Titania Markland competes during the Border Battle at the Field House on Saturday.

Image by Maddy Fox

Redshirt senior Titania Markland competes during the Border Battle at the Field House on Saturday.

by Owen Mageau

This season, the Badgers are ranked ahead of the Gophers in the women’s track and field standings, but Minnesota has bested Wisconsin in the teams’ annual Dual for the fourth straight year.

The No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers 88-69 at the Minnesota Fieldhouse for their first Dual meet of the indoor season. Minnesota won three events in the field and doubled that with six victories in the track.

“We always like beating Wisconsin, so it’s cool,” redshirt senior Madeline Strandemo said. “When the rankings came out, we were like neck and neck, so that was kind of motivating for us because they were slightly ahead of us. It fueled the fire for us, and it’s really exciting to get a win.”

Strandemo contributed to the Gophers victory by winning the women’s mile. She set a Dual meet record in the process, with a final time of 4:48.04. Strandemo was happy to set a record, but admitted it wasn’t her goal coming into the meet.

“It’s pretty cool,” Strandemo said. “Ultimately, I didn’t really know what the record was to be honest. I was just going for the win for the team to get those points.”

In the 600-meter run, redshirt senior Titania Markland also had a record-setting day. She won her race with a time of 1:30.51.  Even though she had a big lead on the final lap, Markland kept pushing to finish in record time. She attributed her ability to keep pushing to a race plan she had made prior to competition. 

“Coming into my race, my coach and I had a race plan, so we knew what marks I had to hit at each 200 [meters],”  Markland said. “My coach was like ‘stay awake, keep pushing’ and I’d know, even though I don’t feel anyone on my back or close to me, I got to keep pushing because I’m racing against the clock, not just my teammates.”

The Gophers also received victories on the track from Emerald Egwim in the 400 meter dash, Val Larson in the 800 meter run, Rachel Schow in the 60 meter hurdles and Minnesota won the 4×400 meter relay.

In the field, Minnesota got victories from Ayesha Champagnie in the long jump, Kiley Sabin in the shot put and Kaitlyn Long in the weight throw. Champagnie and Long set new indoor program records with their performances. Champagnie had a jump of 6.56 meters and Long had a throw of 22.74 meters.

Beating a rival like Wisconsin is a good way to start the season. Both Strandemo and Markland said the win will give the Gophers confidence as the season goes on.