Maroon-Gold meet is tune-up for men’s track

by David La

The meticulous process of getting his team prepared but not played out was again underway for Gophers coach Phil Lundin this weekend at the Maroon and Gold Open.
Lundin is the reigning Big Ten outdoor coach of the year, but he admitted this time of year is when the job is most difficult.
“We’re trying to maintain a consistent high level,” Lundin said. “So you say, `Now, what do you do to ensure that the athletes have top performances at Big Tens?'”
Minnesota played host to Iowa State, Manitoba and Concordia College at the Bierman athletic complex on Saturday, winning ten events. While junior All-American Staffan Strand turned in a NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the high jump with a leap of 7-3 1/4, the purpose of the meet was to hold steady on the course to the Big Ten championships May 21-23.
Sophomore Tom Gerding, the Big Ten athlete of the week last week for his school record-setting performance in the 400-meter dash at Iowa, acknowledged the pros and cons of meets like the Open. Gerding was again victorious in the 400-meter dash Saturday, but insisted that the win was not by design.
“It’s tough, because normally you try to get yourself up and ready to go, but today it was no big deal,” Gerding said of the meet. “On the other hand, it’s nice to have an easy day where you don’t have to worry about times or wins.”
This time of year can potentially be a time for worry, as performances from across the Big Ten find their way to the locker room bulletin boards. However, most athletes don’t seem fazed.
“The charts are up and I keep track somewhat,” said sophomore Bob Quade, who won the 400-meter hurdles Saturday. “But if you look too much into it then you’re not going to run your race.”
Sophomore high jumper Marc Johannsen added some competitors can sometimes pull out all the stops at the Big Tens, leading to off-the-chart performances.
“At the indoor championships, there were eight people (who jumped) over seven feet, and the list beforehand said there would be three,” Johannsen said.
Taking the whole of this weekend into account, the ever-shrewd Lundin said he remains “cautiously optimistic” about the Big Tens.
“We’re slowly bringing it about, and I feel good where were at right now,” Lundin said.