Jan. 25, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – Behind seven individual titles, the No. 9 Minnesota men’s indoor track & field team picked up the team title on Saturday at the Jack Johnson Invitational at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse.
Minnesota finished first and second in a trio of events on Saturday – the 600 meters, the weight throw and the heptathlon – and added titles in the 800 meters, the one mile run and the 4x400 meter relay after opening the meet with a win in the 200 meters on Friday.
The Gophers totaled 134 team points at the meet to lead all competing teams.
“I’m pleased with our performances overall this weekend, and it’s always nice to win titles at our home meets and build some confidence,” Director of Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country Steve Plasencia said. “We’ll continue to build from here because the competition only gets better as we go forward.”
Goaner Deng paced the field in Saturday’s 600 meters with a time of 1:19.75 and helped the Gophers to a win in the 4x400 meter relay with teammates Jacop Capek, Rashawn Fountain and Austin Salargo. The group clocked a 3:18.33 to close out the meet. In the 600, Deng edged teammate Nate Roese for the win – the freshman also clocked a 1:19.75 in the race.
Justin Barber came out on top in Saturday’s weight throw with a winning toss of 20.21 meters (66-03.75 ft.) with newcomer Gian Ferretti finishing in second as an unattached competitor at 19.71 meters (64-08.00 ft.). Jamie Crum put together a notable performance in Saturday’s final events of the heptathlon – moving up to finish first with 4,869 while Nick Bachinski finished in second with 4,711 points.
All-American John Simons made his season debut on Saturday with a win in the one mile run – clocking a 4:07.31 while Bradley Johnson won the 800 meters as an unattached competitor in 1:54.63 – Blayne Dulian finished fourth in the event at 1:55.43.
Minnesota’s seventh individual title was actually its first as Brad Neumann picked up the title in the 200 meters on Friday night – his second win in the event this season.
Other notable performances for the Gophers on Saturday included a second-place finish by Jordan Charles in the triple jump (14.17 meters, 46-06.00 ft.), a runner-up finish by Zach Siegmeier in the pole vault (5.32 meters, 17-05.50 ft.), third-place performances by Mark Jennings in the shot put (17.87 meters, 58-07.50 ft.), Ryan Lockard in the high jump (2.06 meters, 6-09.00 ft.), Trevor Yedoni in the long jump (7.15 meters, 23-05.50 ft.) and a fifth-place finish by Marcus Paulson in the 3,000 meters (8:24.46).
The Gophers return to action next weekend with the Bill Bergan Invitational in Ames, Iowa and the Warren Bowlus Open in Menomonie, Wis.
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True freshmen Hamza Ali and Nick Rink will also represent the U.S. in international competition next month.
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The two-day event begins on Friday, Feb. 24 and culminates on Saturday, Feb. 25.
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Saturday’s performance ranks third in program history behind a 9:29.22 in 2013 and a 9:29.70 in 2011.