Women’s relay team resets its own record mark again

by Brian Hall

It is beginning to sound like a broken record. Minnesota’s women’s track and field team once again set a school record in the 4×100-meter relay.

The relay team of Amber Day, Shannaine Osbourne, Melissa Woltman and Tahesia Harrigan broke its own record set two weeks earlier by posting a 45.87-second mark at the Duke Invitational last weekend.

“They will get faster all season,” coach Gary Wilson said. “They aren’t anywhere near what they can do. They’re not perfect. They will get better.”

The 4×100 team was just one of many bright spots for the Gophers as they tallied top-five finishes in eight events while placing first in three developmental races.

“They did a really nice job,” Wilson said. “The weather wasn’t particularly warm but they handled it well.”

Minnesota competed for the first time this outdoor season in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Senior Victoria Moses was the highest Gophers finisher, placing ninth.

“You have to get that imprint on the brain that doesn’t come with talking, watching videos or coaching, you have to run the event,” Wilson said. “Now they are veterans. They will get exponentially

Focus areas for Minnesota are the field events. With the departure of many seniors from last year’s team, the Gophers are looking to salvage as many points as possible from a relatively inexperienced group of throwers.

Freshman Barbora Spotakova competed in her first event for Minnesota and finished second in the javelin while posting the seventh best throw in school history.

Junior Nicole Kopari and freshman Jessica Stephens finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the discus.

“They will be there in the end, but we need to work on some technical things,” Wilson said. “In these events they want to come outside and automatically begin throwing their best. That doesn’t happen in these technical events.”

The Gophers travel to the University of Tennessee to participate in the SEA Relays next weekend.

“You can tell they are starting to freshen up,” Wilson said. “The volume is decreasing a little bit and they are beginning to focus and look towards the championship meets.”

Throwers excel in Texas

The men’s track and field team sent two throwers and two decathletes to compete in the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, last weekend.

Freshman Karl Erickson continued an impressive start to the outdoor season by placing third in the discus and ninth in the shot put.

Sophomore Lynden Reder set a school record of 194-9 to place eighth in the hammer throw.

“Lynden did a fantastic job setting a new school record,” coach Phil Lundin said. “Karl did not have his best day, but he is learning to deal with the travel and the big competition.

“But with those two guys their results depend quite a bit on their training. Right now they are in heavy training and we haven’t lightened up or tapered them off yet. Heavy training will cause diverse efforts.”

Decathletes injured

Men’s decathletes Lyndon McDowell and Jesse Madsen each had to pull out of the decathlon over the weekend.

McDowell was leading the event by over 100 points through seven events, but pulled out after suffering a strained groin in the eighth event, the pole vault.

“McDowell just blew a piston,” Lundin said.

A pulled hamstring struck Madsen in the first event, the 100-meter dash.

McDowell and Madsen will begin rehabilitation and won’t participate in this week’s competition.

“It was wise for the two guys to pull out of the events,” Lundin said. “You don’t want to be risking any future activities, especially when you are a Big Ten and national caliber athlete.”