Men, women notch top results as Big Ten championships approach

The Gophers’ track and field teams split up to compete at several meets.

Megan Ryan

Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams recorded promising results in their last big meets before the Big Ten indoor championships Feb. 22-23.

The men’s team split up over the weekend to give all the athletes the best chance at their best results.

The sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers traveled to the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa, and set eight personal records.

“The overall goal is to start getting some [personal records] when you get into these bigger facilities,” assistant coach Paul Thornton said.

Senior Oladipo Fagbemi won the triple jump in 15.29 meters and placed second to teammate senior Sam Kettenhofen in the long jump. Fagbemi’s 7.30 meters and Kettenhofen’s 7.32 meters were both personal records.

“Normally I don’t do very well in the long jump,” Fagbemi said. “I just use it basically to train. But this season I’ve been doing a lot better, and having Sam to jump with has improved my jump and his, too.”

Thornton said Fagbemi’s triple jump result was good for this point in the season.

“The biggest thing with him is that he’s healthy,” Thornton said. “That’s something that we have worked on for many, many years with him so that he is healthy going into the Big Ten meet.”

Redshirt freshman Goaner Deng also set a personal record in the unseeded 400-meter dash. He won the event in 47.89 seconds.

Senior Sean King tied for first place in the 60-meter dash at 6.77 seconds. In the 200-meter dash, King placed fifth but set a personal record at 21.67 seconds. Senior Cameron Boy also set a personal record with his second-place time of 21.26 seconds.

Senior John Holton, Deng and Boy, along with senior Harun Abda, won the 4×400-meter relay as part of Minnesota’s ‘A’ team with a time of 3:09.59.

The throws team traveled to the site of the upcoming Big Ten championships in Geneva, Ohio, for the 2013 SPIRE Division I Track and Field Invitational. Junior Jon Lehman continued his steady improvement in the weight throw with another personal record-setting toss.

Lehman’s 21.46 meters ranks third in the nation this season and second in Gophers history.

Women

The women’s team notched two first-place finishes and a school record at the Iowa State Classic this weekend.

Senior Kylie Peterson won the 60-meter dash in 7.46 seconds, just one-hundredth of a second off her personal record.

Peterson redshirted the 2011 season and spent much of last season getting back into shape. But head coach Matt Bingle said Peterson is back to peak form.

“She’s looking the best she’s ever looked,” Bingle said. “Each week it keeps getting better.”

Peterson said she has extra motivation to make her final season her best.

“I definitely feel that this season I’m coming back into my own,” Peterson said. “Going out strong is kind of the point right now.”

Senior Todea-Kay Willis placed second in the event at 7.53 seconds. Bingle said she’s usually faster but had trouble with the starting blocks.

Willis placed second in the long jump at 6.19 meters.