May 17, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (GopherSports.com) – Zach Siegmeier won his third overall Big Ten title and Trevor Yedoni captured his first career conference title for the University of Minnesota at the 2014 Big Ten Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Purdue’s Rankin Track & Field.
A senior captain, Siegmeier successfully defended his 2013 outdoor Big Ten title in the pole vault by clearing 5.45 meters (17-10.50 ft.) on Saturday afternoon after weather prevented the competition on Friday. Siegmeier, who also won the Big Ten indoor title earlier this year, is the first Gopher to sweep the Big Ten pole vaulting season since Ben Peterson won both the indoor and outdoor titles in 2010.
“(Winning the Big Ten title) feels really good, this is what I wanted to do to end my career at Minnesota,” Siegmeier said. “I try to teach the younger guys that if you continue to work hard good things happen. I hope to make a positive influence on our team.”
Yedoni set a new personal record in the long jump by clearing 7.57 meters (24.10 ft.) on his sixth and final attempt of the day to pick up his first career Big Ten title. The conference title is Minnesota’s first since Derek Gearman in 2006. Luca Wieland finished eighth in the event at 7.16 meters (23-06 ft.).
“This is unbelievable. I didn’t think I would be here at the beginning of the year to be honest,” Yedoni said. "This is really an unexpected Big Ten championship, and it’s really amazing. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team.”
Dominique Howard led Minnesota in the discus with a fourth-place finish and a distance of 59.81 meters (196-02 ft.) -- a new personal record for the senior. The mark ranks ninth all-time at Minnesota. Luke Johnson finished eighth in the event (53.80 meters, 176-06 ft.) with Justin Barber coming in ninth (53.37 meters, 175-01 ft.).
Meanwhile, the Gophers had a trio of competitors qualify for finals on Sunday. Alex Brend clocked a 3:48.64 in the 1,500 meter preliminaries while Marcus Paulson came in 15th at 4:00.07 and Blayne Dulain came in 19th at 4:03.48. Goaner Deng came in third in the 800 meters preliminaries to qualify for the final on Sunday. Deng clocked a 1:50.17 while Bradley Johnson came in 10th at 1:51.39 – one spot out of the qualifying line. Jacob Capek also qualified for the 400 meter finals on Sunday after finishing sixth in the preliminaries on Saturday with a time of 47.29. Newcomer Nate Roese finished 20th in the event with a time of 48.48.
Rashawn Fountain placed seventh in the 400 meter hurdle preliminaries in 51.92. Derek Storkel finished 12th in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 9:08.95 while Bob Nicolls came in 17th at 9:21.64. Ben Holcomb clocked a 14:69 in the 110 meter hurdles preliminaries to finish 15th while Brad Neumann came in 16th at 21.81 in the 200 meters preliminaries.
‘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.