Golden Gopher tracksters Ruby Radocaj and Jamie Cheever were named to Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors after leading Minnesota to the team title at the Oregon Pepsi Team Invitational in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.
Radocaj shares the Big Ten Field Event Athlete of the Week with Indiana heptathlete Abbie Stechschulte, while Cheever is the co-Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week with Iowa distance runner Diane Nukuri. Just two meets into the outdoor season, the Gophers have already had athletes earn three Big Ten weekly awards and a total of eight combining the indoor and outdoor seasons. Cheever was honored once during the indoor season. For Radocaj, the award is the first of her career.
Radocaj, a senior from Williamsport, Pa., broke a 13-year old Minnesota record in the javelin with a throw of 187 feet, 6 inches, a mark that ranks as the top throw in the nation this season and betters the Olympic Trials “A” standard. The Gopher All-American broke the long-standing record of 183-2 by Heather Berlin in 1995.
Cheever, a junior from Minneapolis, won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10 minutes, 11.33 seconds. Cheever’s winning time cut nearly 10 seconds off her previous best and is the second-fastest steeplechase in Gopher history. She adds her name to an impressive list of Golden Gophers with NCAA Midwest Region Championships qualifying marks.
Minnesota will split its squad to compete in two meets this weekend, the Jim Duncan Invitational at Drake and the Lee Krough Invitational at Gustavus Adolphus. Several of the Gophers’ top runners will take the week off from competition.