April 25, 2014
DES MOINES, Iowa (GopherSports.com) - A four-peat was not in the cards for the University of Minnesota men's outdoor track & field team on Friday as the Gophers finished fifth in the 4x800 meter relays at the 105th Drake Relays.
The performance closes a run of three-straight wins in the 4x800 at Drake for Minnesota dating back to 2011.
Minnesota's team of Bradley Johnson, Alex Brend, John Simons and Goaner Deng clocked a 7:30.13 on Friday. Brend and Deng were the only returning runners in the event for Minnesota after losing All-Americans Travis Burkstrand and Harun Abda to graduation last year while Simons and Johnson both kept the Gophers in contention throughout their legs in their first 4x800 meter relay appearances. Washington took the crown in the event with a time of 7:18.50.
Minnesota also notched preliminary performances in the 4x400 meter relay and the 4x100 meter relay on Friday. The 4x400 team of Jacob Capek, Deng, Mitchell Hechsel and Nate Roese clocked a 3:08.39 to finish 13th while the 4x100 squad of Capek, Brad Neumann, Jordan Charles and Trevor Yedoni finished 18th with a time of 41.23 - Minnesota's fastest performance of the season in the event.
Meanwhile, the Gophers had a pair of field event competitors on Friday at Drake Stadium in Zach Siegmeier in the pole vault and Yedoni in the long jump. The defending indoor and outdoor Big Ten champion, Siegmeier cleared 5.30 meters (17-04.50 ft.) to finish fifth in the event while Yedoni recorded a leap of 6.96 meters (22-10.00 ft.) to finish 21st.
Ben Holcomb opened the day for Minnesota in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.88 in 25th but did not advance to Saturday's finals.
The Gophers close out the Drake Relays on Saturday while Minnesota will also have student-athletes at the Triton Invitational in San Diego and the SMU Cardinal Open in Winona on Saturday.
‘U’ Alum Siegmeier Joins Gophers Staff
A two-time All-American and three-time Big Ten champion, Zach Siegmeier will serve as director of operations for men's track & field and cross country.
Blankenship, Mead Shine in Olympic Finals
Mead and Blankenship recorded the best Olympic finishes by Gophers since Staffan Strand finished sixth in the high jump for Sweden during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Blankenship Punches Ticket to Olympic Final
Ben Blankenship (1,500) and Hassan Mead (5,000) will run in Olympic finals on Saturday night.