Mege throwing stateside

Quentin Mege is peaking at the right time in what may be his last outdoor season.

by Megan Ryan

The recruiting process for Quentin Mege to join the University of Minnesota’s track and field team took almost a year.

And after two seasons of competition, the transfer student’s collegiate throwing career may be coming to an end.

The France native has one more year of athletic eligibility but is on track to graduate this month with a mechanical engineering degree and a 3.9 grade-point average.

“I put some time into [his recruitment] every day for nine months, probably, to get it all to happen,” assistant coach Lynden Reder said. “We’re really hoping we can talk him into coming back for another year.”

Mege, though, says he plans to forgo his last year of eligibility and will instead take a job.

Mege attended a university in France and was a part of a track and field club team, since sports are not included in the French school system.

Making his transfer work — sifting through athletic eligibility concerns and factoring in his degree placement — took a lot of effort from Minnesota’s coaching team.

 “I knew that it was going to be complicated to make it happen,” Mege said. “I had good advice that to make it happen, it’s easier to find a coach first that wants you to come and that’s going to help you in the process of making all the paperwork … Obviously coach Reder was the most excited.”

While Mege’s first season with the Gophers was mostly about adjusting to a new culture, he also chipped in on the field, winning the hammer throw at the Big Ten championships last year.

The Frenchman continued his outdoor season momentum into this year. At the April 21 Musco Twilight in Iowa City, Iowa, Mege threw 65.54 meters, a new personal record and just 22 centimeters behind Reder’s school record set in 2004.

“In total honesty, I will have mixed emotions [if Mege breaks the record],” Reder said. “I’m, of course, really excited that he’s throwing well.”

Mege said the pair toss jokes around often, but his goal for what could be his last season is to make the NCAA outdoor championships after failing to in 2011. He also wants to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials.

Although he grew up in France, Mege was born in the U.S. and has dual citizenship. He has competed for youth national teams and the equivalent of Olympic Trials in France but is looking forward to the possibility of representing his adopted country.

“I think it’s a much bigger competition,” Mege said. “Obviously, there’s a lot more interest for track and field as a whole [in the U.S.]”

After a grueling outdoor season rife with traveling, Mege will take this week easy.

A nice break is perhaps necessary, considering the Big Ten championships are May 11-13 in Madison, Wis.

Mege and some of his fellow throwers will compete Wednesday at the Golden Bear Twilight at Concordia University in St. Paul.

Mege’s strongest event is the hammer throw. This week, however, he will throw the discus “for fun.”

“I’m terrible at discus,” Mege said. “I’ve got to beat the freshman that beat me last week.”

His teammate and hammer-throw rival Micah Hegerle will also compete in the discus while recovering from a sprained ankle.

“We’re both really competitive, but at the same time we like to see each other succeed,” Hegerle said.

Mege has come a long way from his first weeks in Minnesota, but Hegerle said the throwing team still teases him about how he didn’t know how to order a sandwich at Subway when he first arrived.

“He’s one of the most universally liked guys on our team,” Reder said.

In addition to the Golden Bear Twilight, the men’s team will also compete at the St. Thomas Twilight in St. Paul. On May 4, some members of the team will travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa for the Mark Messersmith Invite.

The women’s team will participate Wednesday in the Tommie Twilight in St. Paul.