Jack Johnson Invitational Preview
Jan. 23, 2014
The No. 9 Minnesota men's indoor track & field team returns to action with the Jack Johnson Invitational this weekend at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse on campus.
Gophers Start Season Ranked Ninth
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) announced its preseason rankings last week with Minnesota pegged ninth in the national rankings. The Gophers were one of four Big Ten teams ranked in the top 10 along with Wisconsin (fourth), Penn State (sixth) and Nebraska (eighth). No other conference in the nation had more teams ranked in the top 10 than the Big Ten.
About the Jack Johnson Classic
The annual Jack Johnson Classic honors the memory of Jack Johnson, who passed away in February 2006 after serving for more than three decades as a Gopher equipment manager.
In addition to the actual competition, there will be entertainment on the side for everyone present. A DJ will be playing music during both days of the meet, and young fans can get involved with a kids' fun run with Goldy. Concessions will be available in the lobby.
The Gophers will also be collecting donations to the University of Minnesota's first annual Unlimited Dance Marathon, set for Feb. 22-23. The 12-hour event is designed to raise funds and awareness for the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. It is a year-long fundraising and awareness campaign for the fight against pediatric health issues. All donations collected at the Jack Johnson Classic will be donated to the Unlimited Dance Marathon in honor of Jack Johnson.
2013 Jack Johnson Invitational Recap
The Minnesota men’s track & field team earned 11 individual titles in route to a team title at the 2013 Jack Johnson Invitational on campus at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse.
The Gophers closed out the weekend by compiling 236.50 team points in the win. Saturday’s track events were highlighted by a 1-2 Gophers finish in the one-mile run as John Simons edged Bobby Nicolls by less than a second for the individual title. Simons crossed the finish line at 4:08.74 while his teammate came in second at 4:09.26.
Minnesota runners also earned top honors in the 400-meter dash (Jacob Capek, 0:48.49), the 600-meter dash (Goaner Deng, 1:19.90), the 800-meter dash (Nick Hutton, 1:51.00) and the 60-meter dash (Sean King, 0:06.75).
Minnesota also posted a 1-2 finish in the field events as Mark Jennings and Emmanuel Onyia finished first and second, respectively, in the shot put. Jennings bested his teammate with a distance of 17.64 meters while Onyia recorded a distance of 17.52 meters.
As Minnesota’s representative in the heptathlon, Kenny Schofield placed second in the event with a score of 4,930 (eight points). Laquone Robinson of Minnesota State-Moorhead won the event at 4,961 (10 points).
Minnesota opened the weekend with two individual titles on Friday afternoon as Cameron Boy paced the 200-meter dash with a time of 0:21.69 and Sam Kettenhofen led all competitors in the high jump at 7.24 meters.
Leading the Charge
While the Gophers lost a considerable amount of talent from last year's squad including Harun Abda, who graduated as the most decorated student-athlete in Gopher track & field history with 13 All-America honors and six Big Ten titles, Minnesota also brings back a wide range of distinguished competitors for the 2014 indoor season. Among the top returners are All-Americans Jon Lehman (weight throw), John Simons (mile), Goaner Deng (4x400 relay) and Jacob Capek (4x400 relay). The Gophers also bring in a sizable freshmen class that will bolster the track & field lineup this season.
Last Time Out - Northwest Open
Minnesota opened the 2014 indoor track & field campaign with seven titles at the Northwest Open last Saturday at the UM Fieldhouse on campus.
The Gophers picked up titles from Zach Siegmeier in the pole vault (5.12 meters, 16-09.50 ft.), Bradley Johnson in the 600 meters (unattached, 1:20.65), Jeffrey Cottrell in the 800 meters (1:54.00), the 4x400 meter relay team of Goaner Deng, Rashawn Fountain, Mitch Hechsel and Austin Salargo (3:19.22), Jon Lehman in the weight throw (21.92 meters, 71-11.00 ft.), Brad Neumann in the 200 meters (unattached, 22.33) and Trevor Yedoni in the long jump (7.16 meters, 23-06.00 ft.).
Additionally, Gophers alum Travis Burkstrand won the mile run (4:09.94) as part of TEAM USA Minnesota.
Lehman's Toss Stands out
Lehman's weight throw of 21.92 meters (71-11.00 ft.) was a personal record for the senior captain, but even more impressive, the throw stands as the fourth best in the nation and the second best in the Big Ten this year.
Honoring Roy Griak
The 2013 Minnesota men's track & field and cross country season marks the 50th year of service to the University of Minnesota by legendary coach Roy Griak. Griak served as the head coach of the Minnesota men's cross country team from 1963-1996 and led the Gophers to three Big Ten titles. Griak has remained on staff as an administrative assistant since handing over the reigns of the program to current Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia. Minnesota honors its long-time coach each Fall with the Roy Griak Invitational -- the 28th running of the Griak was ran on Sept. 28.
Up Next -- Gophers Split Up
Minnesota hits the road for the first time this season next weekend with a pair of meets. The Gophers will send a contingency to the Bill Bergan Invitational in Ames, Iowa as well as the Warren Bowlus Open in Menomonie, Wis. Both meets are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1.