A solid showing for the Gophers on day one of NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

by Brittany Storoz

Despite a lengthy weather delay, Minnesota kept focus for day one of the 2009 NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.


Junior R.J. McGinnis was the first Gopher to compete. After the first day of the decathlon, he sits in 11th place with 3,972 points.  McGinnis had a career-best in the 100 meters with a time of 11.09 seconds, as well as a career best in the high jump, clearing 6-8 ¾. 


The first Gopher to advance to a final came when junior Aaron Studt threw 60-5 ¾ in shot put. This distance put him in the top 12 to compete in Thursday night’s finals for the national title.


Making her first appearance in the NCAA Track Championships, Nikki Swenson finished seventh in the second heat of the 800 meters with a time of 2:10.08. While she failed to advance, teammate Heather Dorniden qualified for tomorrow’s 800 meters semifinal after winning her heat in a time of 2:05.16. 


Poor weather pushed the final events of the day late into the night. When competition resumed, Minnesota’s Alicia Rue qualified for the pole vault final after clearing a career best of 13-5 1/4.


Matt Fisher competed soon after in high bar, and cleared the opening height of 6-8 3/4. On his second attempt at 6-10 3/4, he injured his left ankle, forcing him to withdraw from competition.


The Gophers ended the day on a strong note when Hassan Mead won his heat in the 5,000 meters with at time of 14:00.79. He will compete in the final on Friday evening. Teammate Chris Rombough also competed in the event, running a 14:09.79, but did not advance to finals.