Gophers Head West for NCAA Indoor Championships
THIS WEEKEND IN MINNESOTA TRACK
The No. 8 Minnesota men’s track and field team will finish up the indoor season this weekend at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. This year’s championships will be held March 9-10 in Nampa, Idaho. ESPN 3 will be broadcasting the championships all weekend long in Nampa.
Minnesota qualified seven of its members to be a part of the championships. The Gophers will be represented in the 800 meters, 5,000 meters, 4x400 meter relay, and weight throw.
GOPHERS PICK UP AWARDS
Assistant coach Paul Thornton and junior middle-distance runner Harun Abda recently picked up some hardware to add to their collection. Thornton was named Midwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year, while Abda was named Midwest Regional Track Athlete of the Year for the 2012 indoor season.
While helping the Gophers to a second-place finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, Thornton’s sprinters, jumpers, and multi-event athletes earned multiple Big Ten individual titles, set a Big Ten record and brought home the honors of Track Athlete of the Year and co-Track Athlete of the Championships. This is the second-consecutive honor for the fourth year coach.
Abda won Big Ten titles in the 400 Meters and 600 Meters, setting a conference record in the 600 Meters in the process. His season-best time of 1:46.97 in the 800 Meters is the fastest recorded this indoor season.
THESE GUYS ARE FAST
Harun Abda, David Pachuta and Travis Burkstrand all qualified in the field of 15 runners of the 800 meter race. For the season, Abda and Pachuta hold the fastest times in the country and will look to prove that this weekend. They each set the mark at the Bill Bergan Invite back in Janurary. Abda clocked in at 1:46.97, while Pachuta was on his tail finishing in 1:46.98. Burkstrand’s top time this season is a 1:48.16, which he recorded at last weekend’s Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame.
MEAD IN FASHION
Senior Hassan Mead will once again be making an appearance at the NCAA championships. Mead will compete in the 5,000 meters for the Maroon and Gold. The Minneapolis native clocked in at 13:33.42 at the Husky Classic last month. Mead’s time is currently the fifth fastest time in the country and the top time in Golden Gopher history.
TEAMWORK ON THE TRACK
The 4x400 relay team will once again make an appearance this season. Last weekend Kevin Bradley, Harun Abda, David Pachuta and John Holton recorded their season best time of 3:06.87 at the Alex Wilson Invite. Their time is the fourth fastest in Minnesota history and they will be a group to watch out for.
MICAH BEING HIMSELF
Junior Micah Hegerle once again set the school record in the weight throw this season. He shattered his old record from a year ago after tossing a 72-0 ¼ (21.95m) at the Snowshoe Open last month. He is coming off another Big Ten title in the weight throw after landing a toss of 70-6 ½ (21.50m) a few weeks back.
BIG TEN HONORS THIS SEASON
Following the Big Ten Championships last month, Minnesota brought home some awards following their runner-up performance. Harun Abda was named Track Athlete of the Year aswell as Co-Track Athlete of the Championships. The Gophers also put three athletes on the First Team All-Big Ten team: Abda, Hegerle and Mead represented the Maroon and Gold. David Pachuta and Jack Szmanda earned second team honors.