Qualifying highlights women’s events

Minnesota qualified numerous athletes for the NCAA regional meet.

David McCoy

For Heather Dorniden, an 800-meter run is like a walk in the park.

Fresh off winning the NCAA Indoor title in the 800 meters, Dorniden turned around and broke a school record older than she is Saturday at the Georgia Invitational in Athens, Ga.

The 19-year-old true freshman on Minnesota’s women’s track and field team shattered a 21-year-old school record in her first-ever 800-meter outdoor race, winning the event in 2 minutes, 3.18 seconds, besting Ann Lundin’s record of 2:07.71 set in 1985.

Twenty-year-old junior Julie Schwengler’s time of 2:06.58 also broke the former school record as she finished second.

“Oh yeah, what a great weekend for Heather,” coach Gary Wilson said. “And then for Julie, she breaks the school record and then looks up and still finishes second, and it’s like, What more can you do?”

Junior Liz Alabi set a new school record in the hammer throw with a toss nearly 13 feet better than her previous personal best. Alabi’s throw of 196 feet, 10 inches placed her in third. She won the shot put in 49 feet, 6 1/4 inches.

Senior Nina Cotolupenco placed fourth in the hammer with a new personal best throw of 189-6.

Dorniden and Schwengler both qualified for NCAA Midwest Regionals, as did Christin Kingsley, who took first in the long jump with a leap of 19-8 1/4. The 4-by-400 meter relay team of Kingsley, Sarah Nelson,Katie Grundman and Kadian Douglas qualified as well.

Wilson said the goal of the meet was to get as many athletes qualified for regionals as possible. He said they accomplished that for the most part.

Emily Brown and Jamie Cheever placed first and second, respectively, in the 1,500, but both fell just short of qualifying for regionals.

“They were just off,” Wilson said. “To put all the work in and still come up short, it was tough.”

Gina Dare placed second in the 400-meter hurdles (1:02.67), Douglas placed third in the 100-meter dash (11.91) and Ruby Radocaj placed fourth in the javelin (152-4).

Men take third in Eugene

Despite a plethora of first- and second-place finishes, Minnesota’s men’s track and field team still took third as a team Saturday at the Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, Ore.

Washington won the Invitational with 178 points. Oregon was second with 176, followed by Minnesota with 172.3 and Boise State with 84.

Karl Erickson won the shot put with a toss of 59-7 3/4 and captured the discus title with his season-best throw of 191-4. Erickson has won both of those events in each outdoor competition so far this season.

Other first-place finishers for the Gophers were Derek Gearman with a mark of 48-10 in the triple jump, Ibrahim Kabia in the 100 meters with a time of 10.53 seconds and sophomore Antonio Vega, who won the 5,000 in a time of 14:18.

Finishing in second for the Gophers was Gearman in the long jump with a leap of 23-4, Kabia in the 200 meters in 21.99 seconds and the 4-by-100 relay team of Kabia, Andy Newman, Robb Merritt and Jason Erickson in 41.02 seconds.

Also in second was Pat Akpaette in the triple jump (45-10 1/2), Hans Storvick in the 800 meters (1:52.94) and Adam Schnaible in the shot put (55-3 3/4).

Minnesota’s third-place finishers were Ryan Malmin in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:07.89), Kevin Netzer in the high jump (6-7 1/2) and Newman, who placed third in the 100 meters (10.88) and the long jump (22-4 1/4).