Men’s Track Defends Big Ten Outdoor Championship

Derek Wetmore

The Gophers men’s track and field team defended their Big Ten outdoor championship on Sunday in Bloomington, Indiana. Minnesota scored 145 total team points to secure a victory over second-place Wisconsin by 21 points. It is the fourth straight title for Minnesota in men’s track and field –the previous two indoor titles also belong to Minnesota.

The Gophers rode three individual title winners – Micah Hegerle, hammer; Ben Peterson, pole vault; and R.J. McGinnis, decathlon – to their third team title in the last calendar year, and fourth straight. Minnesota won last year’s outdoor title as well is the indoor title this February, hosted at the Fieldhouse. The 2009 indoor title also belongs to the Gophers, winning a Big Ten title for the first time under head coach Steve Plasencia.

It was the Gophers’ depth, above all, that allowed the team to coast to victory, securing the team title before the final day of competition had concluded. Minnesota received several key runner-up performances that added to its point total. Chris Rombough placed second in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 13 minutes, 52.48 seconds. Fifth-year senior Raymond Blackledge took second in the triple-jump over teammate Oladipo Fagbemi, though the two jumped an equal distance, 50 feet, 2 inches. Blackledge outscored Fagbemi due to a stronger first jump. Trey Davis boasted a career-best throw in the shotput of 60-0 1/2, good for second place after placing third in the discus.