July 10, 2012
Director of men's track and field/cross country Steve Plasencia unveiled an exciting 2012 signing class today. The class features 13 student-athletes, including eight Minnesotans.
Josh Thorson, the 2012 Minnesota state champion in the 3,200-meter run and 2011 Minnesota cross country champion, highlights the class in the distance events. In the mid-distance events, Plasencia has added Spokane Community College and Hermantown (MN) High School product Jeffrey Cottrell, who has an 800-meter personal best time of 1:50.83.
In the throwing events, Emmanuel Onyia and Logan Connors are both high level signees. Onyia has a 12-lb shot put personal best of 65-5 and will compete in the 2012 World Junior Championships in Spain this week. Connors is the top junior college javelin recruit in the country with his personal best toss of 219-10.
A trio of standout athletes in Austin Salargo, Wally Ellingson and Nick Sgarbossa highlight the sprints/jump categories. Salargo was the 2011 Minnesota 400-meter champion. Ellingson is one of the top high jumpers in the country with his personal best jump of 7-1 and will also play basketball for the Tubby Smith and the Gophers. Sgarbossa has a personal best pole vault of 16-3 and was the 2012 Illinois State Champion.
2012 Gopher Men's Track and Field Signing Class
Nick Bachinski (Track and Field)
Previous School: Lakeville South High School
Personal Bests: high jump, 6-8
Major Championships: Minnesota state runner-up in the High Jump (2012).
Notable: Nick will focus on the heptathlon/decathlon at Minnesota
Logan Connors (Track and Field)
Previous School: Diablo Valley College
Personal Bests: javelin, 67.00m (219-10)
Major Championships: 2012 CCCAA Champion.
Notable: Top ranked junior college javelin prospect in the country... 2011 Montana high school state champion.
Jeffrey Cottrell (Track and Field/Cross Country)
Previous Schools: Spokane Community College/Hermantown (Minn.) High School
Personal Best: 800m, 1:50.83
Wally Ellingsen (Track and Field)
School: Rice Lake (Wis.) High School
Personal best: high jump, 7-1
Major Championships: 2012 Wisconsin Division I high jump champion
Notable: Will also play basketball for the Gophers.
Rashawn Fountain (Track and Field)
Previous School: Eden Prairie (Minn.) High School
Personal Bests: 400m, 48.42; 300H, 39.66
Major Championships: Helped Eden Praire to a fifth place finish in the 4x400 at the 2012 Minnesota state high school championships.
Notable: Will focus on long spirts and long hurdles in college.
Mitchell Hechsel (Track and Field)
Previous School: Apple Valley (Minn.) High School
Personal Bests: 400-meters 49.00
Major Championships: Finished eighth at the Minnesota state championships in the 400 meters... Ran the anchor leg for Apple Valley that finished sixth in the 4x400 at the state meet.
Riley Macon (Track and Field/Cross Country)
Previous School: Rochester (Minn.) Mayo High School
Personal Bests: 1,600m, 4:12.45; 3,200m, 9:13.50
Major Championships: 2012 Minnesota state champion in the 1,600m run... Fourth in the 3,200m run at the 2012 Minnesota state championships... Second at the 2011 Minnesota state cross country championships.
Cole O'Brien (Track and Field/Cross Country)
Previous School: Burnsville (Minn.) High School
Personal Bests: 4:20.04; 9:23.30
Major Championships: Second at the 2010 Minnesota state cross country championships.
Emmanuel Onyia (Track and Field)
Previous School: Munro (Jamaica)
Personal Bests: 12lb shot put, 65-5. 6-kilo shot put, 19.25m (63-1)
Major Championships: 2012 Jamaican CARIFTA Trials Champion... Silver medalist at the 2012 CARIFTA Games in Bermuda.
Austin Salargo (Track and Field)
Previous School: Hopkins (Minn.) High School
Personal Bests: 400m, 47.83
Major Championships: 2011 Minnesota state champion in the 400 meters, 2012 Minnesota state runner up in the 400m... Ran the anchor leg for Hopkins that finished fourth in the 4x400 at the state meet.
Nick Sgarbossa (Track and Field)
Previous School: York High School, Elmhurst Ill.
Personal Bests: pole vault, 16-3
Major Championships: 2012 Illinois state champion in the pole vault.
Viktor Stelter (Track and Field)
Previous School: Edgar (Wis.) High School
Personal Bests: discus, 176-1
Major Championships: 2011 Wisconsin state champion in discus.
Josh Thorson (Track and Field/Cross Country)
Previous School: Wayzata (Minn.) High School
Personal Bests: 3,200m, 9:00.80; 1,600m, 4:13.61
Major Championships: 2011 Minnesota state cross country champion... 2012 Minnesota state champion 3,200m... 2012 runner up in the 1,600m at Minnesota high school state championship.
Gophers Finish 19th at NCAAs
The Gophers totaled 464 points for the 10-kilometer course at E. P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.
Zutz Honored by USATF Minnesota
The St. Francis, Minn., native was a First Team All-Big Ten and All-Region honoree this year.
Plasencia Earns USTFCCCA Honor
Steve Plasencia has been honored as the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year.