Feb. 20, 2013
The No. 15 Golden Gopher men's indoor track and field team will travel to Geneva, Ohio, for the Big Ten Indoor Championships this Friday and Saturday. The SPIRE Institute will host the combined men's and women's conference meet. The facility has an eight-lane, 300-meter track. Minnesota will look to improve upon last year's finish and turn in some good performances from veterans and newcomers alike.
Minnesota returns three All-Big Ten performers from last year's squad in First Team honorees Harun Abda and Micah Hegerle and Second Team honoree Jack Szmanda. Abda, who also was named 2012 Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and Co-Track Athlete of the Big Ten Championships, picked up two individual titles in 2013 in the 400 meters (46.51 in his first race of the season) and the 600 meters (1:15.86, a Big Ten Indoor Championships record). Hegerle picked up his second-consecutive Big Ten title in the weight throw at 21.50 meters (70-06 1/2) while Szmanda finished third in the heptathlon.
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Minnesota came up just four points short of its fourth-straight Big Ten indoor title last season after an impressive rally in the final day of competition. The Gophers totaled 100 points in the meet while Indiana earned the team title with 104 total points. Minnesota actually entered the final day of competition in fifth place with the team title coming down to the final event of the meet. The Gophers won back-to-back-to-back Big Ten indoor titles from 2009-11 after the school earned its first indoor championship in 1998.
Abda, Hegerle Sweep Big Ten Honors
Seniors Harun Abda and Micah Hegerle had memorable performances in the final home meet of their careers. Abda earned Big Ten Indoor Track Athlete of the Week honors with his winning time of 1:49.68 in the 800 meters. The performance set a new University of Minnesota Fieldhouse record, the second best mark in the Big Ten this season and the sixth best in the nation. Meanwhile, Hegerle earned Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Week honors after winning the weight throw at 21.84 meters. The senior's throw was the second best in the nation this year (best in the Big Ten) and was just short of Hegerle's school indoor record.
King Looks to Make Mark
Senior Sean King currently has the fastest 60-meter dash time in the Big Ten this season at 6.68 second, and the sprinter will look to make his mark in his final Big Ten indoor championship. King's time of 6.68 ranks second in school history while the time is the 17th fastest in the nation this season.
‘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.