Jan. 18, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota earned nine event titles as the Golden Gopher women's track and field team opened its 2014 indoor season with the Northwest Open held at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.
Two Gophers broke Northwest Open meet records. Senior Alena Brooks won the 600m dash in 1:29.65 and bettered the meet record by nearly four seconds, improving on Sue Gentes' (Wisconsin) mark of 1:33.31 from 1988. In addition, freshman Erin Hawkins won the 200m dash in 25.00, breaking a 14-year-old record held by Oluwascun Adetiba of Iowa State by .01 (25.01). Brooks and Hawkins also teamed up on the Gophers' first-place 4x400m relay team.
"I thought the day was good. The women did a good job of mentally preparing and engaging the day," director of women's cross country and track and field Matt Bingle said. "We asked them to prepare for today and take care of things, knowing the physical side will come.
"Alena did a good job of executing today. We had a plan of what we wanted her to do and she was aggressive with it and did a good job. Erin did a good job as well. It was a little surprising as she's coming off an injury a year ago, but I would definitely say we are ahead of the game with her."
Along with the two record-breaking performances, the Gophers won seven other events – four running events and three field events.
Senior Kaitlin Mincke won the 800m run, leading a charge of seven Gophers in the top nine. Sophomore Andie Zeman (third), senior Jillian Johnson (fourth), senior Katie Hill (fifth), sophomore Anne Ferguson (sixth), senior Cassy Opitz (seventh) and sophomore Stacey Swatek (ninth) rounded out the leaders.
The mile run saw sophomore Becca Dyson pace the field in 4:53.76. Senior Maggie Bollig also broke the five-minute barrier, coming in second in 4:54.34. Fellow Gophers Haley Johnson (sixth), Taylor Mikkalson (eighth) and Lauren Domski (ninth) also finished in the top 10.
The Gophers dominated the 3,000m run, taking the top six places. Junior Molly Kayfes led the field in 9:45.27, followed by seniors Laura Docherty, Kelli Budd, Rachel Drake and Katie Moraczewski and sophomore Kaila Urick, respectively. The pack of six led the first heat of the 3,000m run from start to finish. Fellow Gophers Hannah Trasser (11th) and Stephanie Solfelt (14th) also raced in the first heat and finished in the top 15 of 39 runners overall, the largest field of the meet.
In the field events, the Gophers claimed three event titles with strong performances in the throwing events, high jump and pole vault.
"It was a good place for them to start," Bingle said. "Obviously we have to get better every week, but it was a good place to start. It gives them a bit of confidence heading into the next coming weeks. Hopefully this is just a starting point and each week the can get better."
Two Gopher throwers claimed event titles as sophomore Becci Osterdyk won the shot put with a throw of 47-1.50 (14.36m) and junior Devin Stanford claimed the weight throw title with a throw of 56-5.75 (17.21m). Sophomore Lyndsey Thorpe finished second in the shot put and third in the weight throw as well.
In her first indoor meet, senior Katie Loberg won the high jump at 5-5.25 (1.66m).
Pole vault saw four Gophers clear lifetime-best heights. Junior Katie Murgic and sophomore Cami Gilson placed second and third, respectively, as they each cleared 13-1.50 (4.00m) for the first time in their careers. Sophomores Stephanie Oleson and Sara Tseng finished fifth and sixth with leaps of 11-11.75 (3.65m).
Behind event champion Hawkins, the Gophers placed two more runners in the top four of the 200m dash in Waldvogel (second in 25.71) and freshman Kat Keller (fourth in 26.10).
All four Gopher hurdlers advanced to the finals in the 60m hurdles, led by sophomore Alex Beckman's second-place finish in a career-best 8.93 seconds. Audra Winter (fifth), Amanda Beckman (seventh) and Jess Herauf (ninth) rounded out the top hurdlers.
Minnesota remains at home to host the annual Jack Johnson Classic next Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24-25, at the U of M Fieldhouse. Action begins at 3 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
Gopher Event Champions
200m: Erin Hawkins
600m: Alena Brooks
800m: Kaitlin Mincke
Mile: Becca Dyson
3,000m: Molly Kayfes
4x400m Relay: Jessica Waldvogel, Madison Smith, Alena Brooks and Erin Hawkins
High Jump: Katie Loberg
Shot Put: Becci Osterdyk
Weight Throw: Devin Stanford
Gophers Welcome Two New Staff Members
Director of operations Lyndsey Thorpe and athletic trainer Sarah Wambheim have joined the Gopher Athletics staff.
Spotakova Earns Olympic Bronze in Javelin
Gophers All-American Barbora Spotakova threw 64.80m in to place third in the javelin at the Rio Olympic Games.
Gophers to Visit Minnesota State Fair
Golden Gopher teams and coaches are scheduled to appear at the Minnesota State Fair Aug. 29-31.