Gophers open season with seven titles

U of Minnesota

January 19, 2014, MINNEAPOLIS (ISN) – The No. 9 University of Minnesota men’s indoor track & field team won seven titles in its season opener on Saturday at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse as part of the Northwest Open. Gophers alum and All-American Travis Burkstrand also added an individual title at the meet.

“Overall, we were happy with our performance at today’s meet,” Minnesota Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia said. “We see the Northwest Open as kind of a rust buster for our squad – it lets us know where we are at and what we need to work on. So from that standpoint, we had a good meet to start the season.”

Reigning Big Ten outdoor pole vault champion Zach Siegmeier started his senior season off with an individual title, picking up the win today in the men’s indoor pole vault with a height of 5.12 meters (16-09.50 ft.) while three other competitors with ties to Minnesota finished in the top five. Competing unattached, program alum Jack Szmanda came in second at 4.92 meters (16-01.75 ft.), junior Logan Markuson finished third at 4.92 meters (16-01.75 ft.) and Nick Sgarbossa came in fifth at 4.47 meters (14-08.00 ft.).

The Gophers had similar success in the men’s 600 meter final as Bradley Johnson (unattached) paced a group of four runners with ties to the program with a time of 1:20.65. Nate Roese (unattached) finished second at 1:20.96, Rashawn Fountain came in third at 1:21.29, and Trenton Daniels (unattached) finished fourth at 1:22.02.

Additionally, Jeffrey Cottrell and Michael Bolland came in first and second, respectively, in the 800 meter run – pacing a 1-2 finish for Minnesota. Cottrell crossed the finish line at 1:54.00 flat while Bolland came in second at 1:54.94. Freshman Derek Wiebke finished third in the event at 1:55.66, running unattached.

The Gophers also finished 1-2 in the men’s one mile run Burkstrand finishing first at 4:09.84 as a member of Team USA Minnesota while sophomore Aaron Bartnik posted a runner-up finish at 4:12.51.

The 4×400 meter relay team of Goaner Deng, Rashawn Fountain, Mitch Hechsel and Austin Salargo also picked up a title on Saturday, pacing the finals with a time of 3:19.22 – over half a second in front of the nearest finisher.

Jon Lehman bested teammate Justin Barber for first in the men’s weight throw on Saturday afternoon. Lehman took home individual honors with his thrown of 21.92 meters (71-11.00 ft.) while Barber finished second at 20.42 meters (67-00.00 ft.). The Gophers throwers also had a strong showing in the shot put with four of the top six finishers – Luke Johnson finished second at 17.36 meters (56-11.50 ft.), Logan Hussung came in third at 16.96 meters

Trevor Yedoni won the men’s long jump with a leap of 7.16 meters (23-06.00 ft.) while newcomer Luca Wieland finished third at 6.67 meters (21-10.75 ft.).

Unattached competitor Brad Neumann also had an impressive day at the Northwest Open, winning the 200 meter dash at 22.23 and then finishing as the runner-up in the 60 meter dash as part of a 2-3-6 finish with Jordan Charles (7.02) and Yedoni (7.07) – of three of whom were moments behind the leaders.

Other notable performances were a runner-up finish by Jordan Charles (unattached) in the triple jump (14.15 meters, 46-05.25 ft.), a 2-3 finish in the high jump by Ryan Lockard (unattached, 2.05 meters, 6-08.75 ft.) and Danny Schiller (2.05 meters, 6-08.75 ft.), a 2-3-5 finish in the 400 meter dash by Salargo (50.26), Hechsel (50.34) and Deng (50.38), and a runner-up finish in the 3,000 meter run by unattached competitor Eric Colvin (8:48.75).

Minnesota continues its home schedule next weekend with the Jack Johnson Invitational at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse.