Gophers track and field teams take top spots

The men’s squad came in fifth place and the women’s team took fourth.

Junior Derek Wiebke runs in the Merrill Fischbein Mens Gold race at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Les Bolstad golf course.

Image by Chelsea Gortmaker

Junior Derek Wiebke runs in the Merrill Fischbein Men’s Gold race at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Les Bolstad golf course.

by Dominic Davis

Minnesota’s track and field teams both finished top five at the Big Ten Championships.

The meet was highlighted by Derek Wiebke and Madeline Strandemo both winning titles in the mile in their respective races.

Strandemo was extra excited about her win after watching Wiebke win the men’s race.

“I saw that race happen, and we both got third last year,” Strandemo said. “So, I was like ‘Well, heck, if you can win, I can win too.’”

The men’s team earned a fifth-place finish with 67.5 points.

Wiebke won the mile on the men’s side with a time of 4:01.85.

This was Wiebke’s first title for Minnesota. His performance ranks fifth fasted of all time for Minnesota.

Wiebke is also part of the distance medley relay team that placed second on Friday.

“I’m really happy for Derek,” director of men’s track and field and cross country Steve Plasencia told reporters. “He’s certainly worked hard to get to this point, and he deserves the recognition. He’s a guy who works hard in everything he does, and he’s gotten better and better each year.”

The team of Wiebke, Shane Streich, Jackson Wellenstein and Mitch Hechsel ran the relay in 9:38.03. Indiana edged the Gophers for first with a time of 9:34.20.

Nate Roese broke the school record for the 600-meter at 1:15.55 and earned second place.

Minnesota had two more second place times from Mitch Hechsel and Obsa Ali. Hechsel ran the 800-meter for a personal-best 1:48.23. In the 5,000-meter, Ali had a time of 14:05.69.

The women’s team finished fourth with Strandemo’s first-place finish in the mile with a time of 4:41.88.

“She’s worked hard for that and just took control of the race right from the very beginning,” head coach Matt Bingle said.

Strandemo also scored points for Minnesota by taking sixth in the 3,000-meter.

The Gophers were ninth in the team standings heading into Saturday with 16 points. They earned points in seven of eight events Saturday to climb to fourth with 70 points.

Bingle is pleased with how his team performed at the meet, as they achieved the goal they set.

“[Fourth] was kind of where we thought we could fit if we had a good weekend,” Bingle said. “We had an exceptional weekend.”

No personal or program records were safe. Minnesota athletes broke multiple program records and achieved personal bests over the weekend.

One of those personal records was for throwing — Agnes Esser took second in the weight throw with a mark of 20.94 meters, which is also the second best in program history.

Emma Spagnola and Kimberly Golding each ran the 60-meter hurdles preliminary in 8.13 seconds to both claim the school record and finished third and fourth in the final, respectively.

“Anytime you get in a championship meet and you’re breaking school records and having big [personal records], those are exactly what you want to see,” Bingle said. “I can go down the list of kids who came here and had huge PRs.”