Wilson expects more from team in outdoor season

David La

Gophers women’s track and field coach Gary Wilson has put his team’s Big Ten indoor season behind him.
Minnesota, which started its outdoor season last week, finished a modest seventh place at the indoor championships. But Wilsons’ belief is that the best is yet to come.
“It takes seven to 10 competitions to reach a peak,” Wilson said. “So you can’t do it indoors. If you try, you get kids injured and you don’t have an outdoor season.”
Minnesota will indeed have an outdoor season, which will include the debut of the hammer throw as a scoring event.
For sophomore Angela Hill, two years of weight training will finally see the light of day.
The Poplar Bluff, Mo., native came to Minnesota in 1996 with aspirations to compete. Hill played basketball her entire high school career so she tried out for the basketball team, but her style was not well-received by then-coach Linda Hill-MacDonald and her staff.
“I got cut,” Hill said. “They told me I was too aggressive.”
Her next endeavor was the track and field team, where bad timing nearly led to the demise of the walk-on.
“She came in as a shot and discus thrower, but we found her forte was in the hammer,” coach Lynne Anderson said.
Unfortunately, the hammer event was still two seasons from becoming a scoring event in the Big Ten, so Hill redshirted.
“I think it was good for me,” Hill said. “I need that experience before I started competing, and my throwing technique continued to develop.”
Hill finished third at the Big Ten outdoor championships last season, though it was an exhibition event.
Last weekend at the Hayward Relays in Oregon, Hill finished fourth on the strength of a personal best throw of 172 feet, 4 inches.
“She works extremely hard at what she does,” Anderson said. “She’s one of my classic walk-on stories where they barely make the team and then finish near the top at Big Tens.”
Hill is one of the throwers who will be instrumental in guiding the Gophers to a top finish at the Big Tens, along with school record holder in the hammer Beth Howard, All-Americans Nicole Chimko and Aubrey Schmitt and Finland native Linda Lindqvist.
This weekend’s appearance at the St. Olaf Relays will be another chance for the team to prepare for the Big Tens, provided the weather cooperates.
“We’re becoming fair weather throwers, but only because we’re trying to get to the national level,” Anderson said.
The throwers are not the only story on this year’s team, however.
“We’re solid, except that we don’t have a high-jumper,” Wilson said. “Other than that we can score in every event.”