March 1, 2014
GENEVA, Ohio (GopherSports.com) – Senior John Simons of the University of Minnesota men’s indoor track & field team won the 2014 Big Ten Indoor title in the one mile on Saturday at the SPIRE Institute as the Gophers finished sixth at the conference competition.
The Hartland, Wis., native gave Minnesota its second Big Ten title of the meet after Zach Siegmeier’s win in the pole vault on Friday (5.26 meters, 17-03.00 ft.). The win for Simons, who clocked a 4:15.73 in the finals after leading all competitors in the preliminaries with a time of 4:03.96, marks his first career Big Ten title and Minnesota’s first indoor mile title since Ben Blankenship in 2011.
Simons also finished second in the 3,000 meters on Friday night with a time of 7:52.62 – the second fastest time in Gophers’ indoor history.
“We had an outstanding performance from John this weekend. To finish first in one event and second in another against competition like this is really impressive. He really stepped up for us when we needed him,” Minnesota Director of Men’s Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia said.
Jon Lehman, meanwhile, finished second in the weight throw on Saturday. The school record holder in the event, Lehman’s top throw cleared 22.68 meters (74-05.00 ft.) among competition that entered the meet with the top four performances in the nation. Lehman’s toss topped the SPIRE Institute record of 22.62 meters but was ultimately beat by Wisconsin’s Michael Lihrman with a throw of 23.78 meters (78-00.25 ft.) – a new meet record.
Simons and Siegmeier were each honored as All-Big Ten First Team selections while Lehman received Second Team accolades. The Gophers totaled 57 points at the meet.
Additionally, the Gophers received top-10 finishes from the following competitors: Goaner Deng came in third in the 800-meter finals (1:50.44), Wally Ellenson came in fourth in the high jump (2.12 meters, 6-11.50 ft.), Nate Roese finished sixth in the 600-meter finals (1:17.95) and the 4x400 meter relay team of Jacob Capek, Deng, Bradley Johnson and Roese finished eighth (3:11.91).
The Gophers return to action in two weeks with the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
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The Gophers will be in action starting Thursday, April 27 with competition coming to a close on Saturday, April 29.
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Meanwhile, four unattached Gopher freshmen picked up titles at Concordia-St. Paul’s Holst Invitational on Saturday at SeaFoam Stadium in St. Paul.
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The Gophers also added three top-10 all-time performances on Friday from Mitch Hechsel, Luke May and Obsa Ali.