Two Gophers named All-Americans

Grant Donald

Two Gophers returned from last weekâÄôs NCAA Track and Field Championships as All-Americans âÄì and not one of them was named Luca Wieland. The sophomore, who took home the Big Ten and national title in the heptathlon and earned the Big Ten crown in the decathlon earlier this year, withdrew from the outdoor championships after aggravating a leg injury during warm-ups. For the Gophers that did compete, juniors Gian Ferretti and Goaner Deng both placed well enough in the hammer throw and 800-meter run respectively to earn All-American status. Junior thrower Luke Johnson also competed in the meet, finishing 21st in the shot put with a throw of 18.45 meters. However, not everything went according to plan for the Gophers All-Americans âÄì in particular Deng. Coming out of WednesdayâÄôs 800-meter preliminaries, the Apple Valley, Minn., native held on to the seventh fastest time. But, due to Deng placing fifth in his heat he was unable to earn a spot in FridayâÄôs final and a shot to earn a national championship. On the bright side, DengâÄôs time of 1:47:32 set a new personal record by more than a second. But according to the now two-time All-American; the personal record is second to failing to qualify for FridayâÄôs finals. Although Deng suffered from some bad breaks in his event, Ferretti received a great break on his third and final throw. Heading into his last throw, the Cascina, Italy native said it seemed like he would finish around 20th in the hammer throw. After his third throw, however, Ferretti found himself knocking on the door of the top-10. âÄúI knew that it probably was going to be my last throw of the season so I just put all I had left into it,âÄù Ferretti said. âÄúI was pretty relieved when I saw it was my best throw of the day.âÄù Although Ferretti didnâÄôt crack the top-9 throwers who advanced to the finals, he did finish 12th which was good enough to earn All-American status. âÄúHeading into the year, I though becoming an All-American was a possibility but I didnâÄôt know how likely it would be.âÄù Ferretti said. âÄúItâÄôs a great accomplishment and I will definitely celebrate it, but there is always another goal to accomplish.âÄù All four Gophers that competed this weekend will look to return to the national champions next year.