April 27, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa – A day after helping the Gophers to the squad’s third 4x800 meter relay title in as many years, Travis Burkstrand and Harun Abda put together a 1-2 finish in the 800 meters on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 14,504 to give Minnesota its second title of the weekend.
The pair of All-Americans battled each other from gun to tape before Burkstrand took the lead for good midway through the second lap. Burkstrand paced the race at 1:49.32 for his first 800 meter win of the outdoor season while Abda placed second at 1:49.67.
Burkstrand’s title in the 800 meters marks the first time Minnesota has won the event at the Drake Relays.
On Friday, the 4x800 meter relay team of Burkstrand, Abda, Alex Brend and Goaner Deng combined for a time of 7:26.49 – the fourth fastest time in the NCAA this year – as Minnesota earned its third-straight Drake Relays title in the event.
On the infield on Saturday, Oladipo Fagbemi finished third overall in the triple jump with a leap of 15:59 meters (51-01.75 ft.). Wally Ellenson finished fifth in the high jump with a height of 2.12 meters (6-11.5 ft.) while Danny Schiller tied for 13th at 2.03 meters (6-08 ft.).
Minnesota’s 1,600 meter sprint medley relay team finished first in its heat and sixth overall on Saturday morning. The contingency of Cameron Boy, Jacob Capek, John Holton and Michael Bolland paced the second heat with a time of 3:23.35 although a heated race in the third and final heat would claim the top five overall finishes.
After finishing first in their preliminary heat on Friday, the 4x400 relay team of Abda, Kevin Bradley, Jacob Capek and Cameron Boy finished seventh in Saturday’s final with a time of 3:08.25. Blayne Dulian (3:49.74) and Marcus Paulson (3:50.58) finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 1,500 meters.
Gophers Pick Up Two Titles in San Diego
Minnesota’s throwers were in competition on Saturday at the UCSD Triton Invitational in San Diego with the Gophers picking up titles in the hammer throw and the shot put.
Logan Hussung set a new personal record to pick up the shot put individual title, clearing 17.49 meters (57-04.75 ft.) to edge teammate and runner up Mark Jennings’ toss of 17.45 meters (57-03 ft.). The duo’s marks are the top two performances in the shot put this season for the Gophers.
The Gophers also posted three of the top four performances in Saturday’s hammer throw including Micah Hegerle’s winning throw of 64.67 meters (212-02 ft.). Jon Lehman finished third in the event at 59.76 meters (196-01 ft.) while Justin Barber came in fourth at 58.49 meters (191-11 ft.)
Also of note, the Minnesota contingency posted the top three collegiate performances in the discus on Saturday. Barber’s throw of 55.91 meters (183-05 ft.) was a new personal record for the Gopher and placed Barber third overall. Dominique Howard finished fifth with a throw of 55.33 meters (181-06 ft.) while Hegerle came in seventh overall at 54.83 meters (179-11 ft.).
Gustavus Drake Alternative
Minnesota freshman Rashawn Fountain set a new meet record in the 400 meter hurdles on Saturday at the Gustavus Drake Alternative. Running as an unattached competitor, Fountain finished with a winning time of 53.57 seconds.
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.
Mead Moves on to Olympic 5,000 Final
Mead races in the 5,000 meter final at Olympic Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT.