Gophers Host Snowshoe Open
Feb. 20, 2014
Jennings' Meet Record
Junior Mark Jennings owns the Snowshoe Open shot put record at 17.65 meters (57-11 ft.) after winning the event last season. Jennings was part of a 1-through 5 finish at the event for the Gophers. Jennings is expected to compete again in the event this year as are teammates Luke Johnson, Logan Hussung and Emmanuel Onyia.
National Marks for the Gophers
Senior Jon Lehman's weight throw of 22.09 meters (72-05.75 ft.) stands as the fourth best throw in the nation this season. John Simons' 3:59.38 in the one-mile run stands as the 17th best time in the nation this season. Zach Siegmeier's mark of 5.41 meters (17-9 ft.) in the pole vault sits as the 14th best performance in the nation this season.
Last Time Out - Iowa State Classic/Husky Classic
John Simons of the Minnesota indoor track & field team ran a sub four-minute mile for the third time in his career on Saturday at the Washington Husky Classic.
Simons clocked a 3:59.38 in Saturday's competition to finish fifth overall. The senior's heat produced the top six overall finishers - all running under four minutes. Simons just missed his personal record in the mile of 3:59.32 set last year as a junior - a performance that ranks second all-time at Minnesota. Ben Blankenship holds the Minnesota indoor mile record at 3:57.87.
"John had a great run for us in the mile, and we're really happy with the way he performed this weekend," Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia said. "We've got room to get better as a team, and that starts next week at home with the Snowshoe Open."
Additionally, Bob Nicolls finished third overall and second in his heat in the 3,000 meter run. Nicolls clocked an 8:10.34 in the race.
While several of Minnesota's distance runners were in action in Seattle, the rest of the Gophers were in action in Ames, Iowa at the Iowa State Classic.
Zach Siegmeier and Jon Lehman both won their second-straight titles in the pole vault and the weight throw, respectively, on Friday night after picking up wins two weeks ago in Ames at the Bill Bergan Invitational.
Siegmeier, who set a new personal record two weeks ago in Ames, matched the feat with a height of 5.35 meters (17-06.50 ft.) on Friday night at the Iowa State Classic. The winning height by the Gophers senior was more than 0.2 meters -- nearly eight inches -- higher than the runner-up.
Meanwhile, Lehman posted another win in the weight throw for the Gophers, leading the pack with a toss of 22.05 meters (72-04.25 ft.). Lehman, who set a new school record two weeks ago at the Bill Bergan Invitational, dominated the competition with runner-up Justin Baker from Northern Iowa hitting 18.91 meters (62-00.50 ft.).
2013 Snowshoe Open Recap
The No. 23 Minnesota men's indoor track and field team picked up eight individual titles in its final home meet of the season at the Snowshoe Open including one of the best throws in Gopher indoor history.
Senior Micah Hegerle made his final home meet at the University of Minnesota count on Friday night, posting the second-best weight throw in school history to win the event. With a winning toss of 21.84 meters (71-08 ft.), Hegerle recorded the Gopher men's indoor track and field team's top weight throw of the season - while the senior nearly matched his own school record of 21.95 meters set last season. The Gophers actually finished 1-2-3 in Friday's weight throw with Justin Barber recording a personal record of 20.31 meters (66-07 3/4 ft.) to finish second. Quentin Mege placed third at the Snowshoe with a throw of 18.77 meters (61-07 ft.).
The Gophers also had several noteworthy wins and records on Friday. Harun Abda set a University of Minnesota Fieldhouse record in his win in the 800 meters, crossing the finish line at 1:49.68 while Sam Kettenhofen set a new Snowshoe Open record in the long jump with his winning leap of 7.34 meters (24-01 ft.). Mark Jennings did likewise in the shotput, pacing a 1-through-5 sweep for the Gophers in the event with a Snowshoe Open record setting toss of 17.65 meters (57-11 ft.).
Minnesota also had individual titles in the 60-meter dash (Sean King, 6.74), the 600-meter run (Goaner Deng, 1:20.12, edging teammate John Holton in second at 1:20.87), the 3,000-meter run (Derek Storkel, 8:27.49), and the triple jump (Oladipo Fagbemi, 15.21 meters, 49-11 ft.).
Honoring Roy Griak
The 2014 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 CountrySteve 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.
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.
Up Next -- 2014 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships
The Gophers are back in action next weekend at the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships in Geneva, Ohio. The meet runs from Friday, Feb. 28 to Saturday, March 1.