NCAA track day 1: Minnesota suffers rough start

by Megan Ryan

The Gophers track and field teams endured a rough start to their NCAA outdoor championships.

The women's team's only qualifiers to the meet — the 4×100 relay — finished five spots out of advancing to the final round in its preliminary race. Todea-Kay Willis, Nyoka Giles, Chimerem Okoroji and Kylie Peterson ran the relay in 44.48 seconds and placed 13th overall.

For the men, David Pachuta and Harun Abda ran in a stacked preliminary heat for the 800, and both failed to qualify for the final. Pachuta came in fifth at 1:46.62, and Abda finished in sixth at 1:46.65. Both broke the school record of 1:46.74 that Pachuta set earlier in the year at the Big Ten championships.

While Pachuta and Abda had the seventh and eighth fastest times overall, they were not among the eight runners who advanced, as they finished outside the two top in their heat and did not have the next two fastest times.

Jack Szmanda pulled out of the decathlon after only three events. The junior suffered a sprained ankle two weeks ago in training and it forced him out of competition early. Before exiting the national meet, Szmanda finished 22nd out of 24 athletes in the 100 meters and the long jump and 10th in the shot put.

Nick Hutton will race in the preliminary heat of the 1,500 meters Thursday for Minnesota.