May 20, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Three-time Big Ten pole vault champion Zach Siegmeier has been named the University of Minnesota men's track & field team's inaugural Garry Bjorklund Award winner as the Gophers' most valuable player for the 2014 season.
"Garry Bjorklund has always been a great representative of the University of Minnesota and the Gopher track & field program, and we believe it is fitting to acknowledge his contributions to the sport with our team most valuable player award," Minnesota Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia said.
"Zach has had an outstanding senior season for us, and he is very deserving of this honor. He's been a leader for us all year, and much like Garry, he is a phenomenal representative of our program."
A senior captain for the Gophers this season, Siegmeier is coming off his third overall conference title and second-straight Big Ten outdoor championship last weekend in West Lafayette, Ind. The Lakewood, Ill., native cleared 5.45 meters (17-10.50 ft.) to win the event and set a new facility record at Rankin Track & Field. Siegmeier, who picked up his first career Big Ten indoor pole vault title earlier this year, is the first Gopher to sweep the Big Ten championships since Ben Peterson won both the indoor and outdoor titles in 2010.
Siegmeier set a new outdoor personal record to win the Musco Twilight this season, recording a height of 5.51 meters (18-01 ft.). The mark, which ranks fifth all-time at Minnesota, stands as the best performance in the Big Ten this season and is tied for 10th in the NCAA for the 2014 outdoor season.
The senior also set a new indoor personal record at this year's Snowshoe Open, clearing 5.45 meters (17-10.50 ft.) in a tie for the 11th best performance in the NCAA for the 2014 indoor season. Siegmeier went on to earn Second Team All-America honors at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
Minnesota's pole vault specialist has won a total of 11 individual titles between the indoor and outdoor seasons during his final campaign with the Maroon & Gold (five outdoor, six indoor).
Siegmeier and the Gophers return to action at the NCAA West Prelims in Fayetteville, Ark., May 29-31.
About the Garry Bjorklund Award:
The Minnesota men's track & field team annually bestows the Garry Bjorklund Award to the program's most valuable player. The Minnesota alum won the 1971 NCAA title for the Gophers in the six mile run and went on to compete in the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. A native of Duluth, Minn., Bjorklund earned a total of five All-America nods between cross country and track & field and won a total of 10 Big Ten championships.
Gophers Claim Five Titles at Stanford
Meanwhile, four unattached Gopher freshmen picked up titles at Concordia-St. Paul’s Holst Invitational on Saturday at SeaFoam Stadium in St. Paul.
Harold Headlines Opening Day at Stanford
The Gophers also added three top-10 all-time performances on Friday from Mitch Hechsel, Luke May and Obsa Ali.
Minnesota Heads West for Cardinal Classic
The Cardinal Classic is a two-day meet (Friday-Saturday) set at Cobb Track and Angell Field while the Holst Invitational is scheduled for Saturday at SeaFoam Stadium.