Men and women go south on I-35 to Iowa State

The Iowa State Classic is this weekend in Ames, Iowa.

Robert Mews

Breaking school records has lifted Minnesota’s women’s track and field team into the national spotlight with Big Ten Athletes of the Week and a top-25 ranking.

But that praise will not change the goals for the 18th-ranked Gophers for the Iowa State Classic this weekend in Ames, Iowa.

Minnesota’s strong performance at Notre Dame last weekend was due in part to junior Emily Brown breaking the school record in the 3,000-meter event and her part in helping break the school record in the distance medley relay.

Freshman Heather Dorniden was also part of that distance-medley-relay record run Friday. Then on Saturday, she ran the nation’s fastest 800-meters. That performance helped her earn Big Ten Athlete of the Week.

“What we’re going to do from here on out is sit on that time,” student-assistant coach Sarah Hesser said.

Hesser added that this meet in Iowa gives the team a chance to see where else the team can achieve strong performances.

“This weekend at Iowa State is our chance to run some people in some different events to see what kind of combinations we have out there,” she said.

Dorniden will run the open 400-meter, which she has not competed in this season, and the 4-by-400. But she said the goals are the same.

“Well, as far as what our coach wants,” Dorniden said, “he wants us to break our school record that they set last year for the (4-by-400) at the meet. So, that would be cool if we could do that.”

Hesser said the middle-level competition at this meet will allow Minnesota to switch things up with runners and events. Yet, she added, the competition will be similar to that of what was at Notre Dame.

With the recent success, Hesser said, the team still hasn’t changed its attitude about the season.

“I think we’ve always had high expectations for this team this year, given what we did last year, given the progress we’ve made since last year,” Hesser said. “We’ve always thought that we’re a faster team in the Big Ten.”

Men running in Iowa

The Minnesota men’s track and field team also is running in Ames this weekend.

The team will shake some events up as well.

Coach Phil Lundin said he’s going to rest the long and high jumpers because they’re “a little funky” right now.

“There’s some nagging injuries, people are a little tired,” Lundin said about the jumpers. “So, we’re either letting them rest or they’ll go to a small competition and do odd events.”

Lundin said he could let the jumpers loose on some running events this weekend in Iowa, or at a smaller competition at River Falls, Wis.

The meet will, as Lundin said, have “national-caliber” performers.

“They need to be out in those particular situations, because the Big Ten meet,” Lundin said of the level of competition.

All-American Trent Riter will run his first 800-meter event this weekend, and that has Lundin excited.

“He’s an All-American in the 800 for us,” Lundin said. “So, we’re looking forward to watching him open up.”