Men’s Track wins Bill Bergen Invitational

Derek Wetmore

Behind the strength of nine individual title winners, the Gophers coasted to victory for the second weekend in a row. After dominating competition at the Jack Johnson Classic last weekend, Steve Plasencia and Co. won the Bill Bergan Invitational in Ames, Iowa, with 180 points, nearly tripling second place Iowa State (who scored 64 points).

“In a lot of areas today… we were good today,” Plasencia said. “But still, we’re going to continue to work on improving because that’s what we have to do.”

Nick Hutton won the 800-meter with a late charge. Plasencia said he took off with about 250 meters to go and that move was the reason he won the race. Teammate Harun Abda came in second.

The 4X400-meter relay ‘A’ team took first place by over three and a half seconds.

Andy Richardson won the mile in a wire-to-wire performance with a time of 4:09.53.

“It’s a little unusual way to run the mile race [leading the entire way], but I was very happy with it and I’m sure he’s very happy with it,” Plasencia said.

Pieter Gagnon and Andrew Larsen took the weekend off last weekend when Minnesota hosted the Jack Johnson, but both were out on the track Saturday, as Gagnon won the 3,000-meter and Larsen took 4th.

The throwers continue to propel a strong field half of the team, with Micah Hegerle winning the weight throw with a new personal best mark of 20.57 meters.

“Hegerle pulled that out on his last throw,” Plasencia said. “It was a pressure throw and he came through with a big one. That mark is another [personal record] for him. Last time he set a PR, he was Big Ten Athlete of the Week, so to top that, that’s a good movement forward for him.”

The jumpers got in on the act as well, with Addison Demer winning the long jump and Oladipo Fagbemi taking second. Fagbemi also won the triple jump.

Ben Peterson secured the pole vault title with a jump of 5.2 meters and Matt Clauer won the high jump, clearing 2.1 meters.

Also on the weekend, Brock Spandl won the Invitational’s heptathlon with a career-high total of 6,645 points, which is the fourth-best mark in Gophers history. Spandl vaulted 17.3 feet which is the best mark for any Gopher this season. Plasencia said the mark may not be an NCAA automatic qualifier, but it should give Spandl a great chance to get into the tournament. With a very strong first day, Joey Schwecke took third in the event.


The women’s team had a relative down weekend, with only a few distance runners competing. Katie Salvatore (mile) and Heather Brunn (600) each earned titles in a smaller open meet at Mankato. The women will be back in action next weekend at the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on Notre Dame’s campus.