The two-day Jack Johnson Invitational took place this weekend in the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse. Both the Gophers men’s and women’s track teams had little trouble maintaining their dominance of the annual home meet against watered-down competition.
The men easily won the meet with 202 points. Second-place Northern Iowa scored 94 points, and third-place North Dakota State had 79 points.
“There were definitely some good things that happened,” said head coach Steve Plasencia. “We’re waiting for some guys to break through, and we are going to need to progress before the Big Ten Indoor meet [Feb. 24-25], but I think we are on target for where we want to be.”
Two Gophers runners set new records at the tournament. Junior Harun Abda set a new Fieldhouse and Jack Johnson record after running 1:16.38 in the 600-meter. Senior David Pachuta broke both marks for the 800-meter after racing a 1:49.90.
“I honestly didn’t even know it was a record until someone told me a little while after my race,” Pachuta said. “It’s fun, but I want to keep it in perspective. My mind is really more on Big Ten [schedule] and what comes after that right now.”
Several other Minnesota runners placed first in their respective events: junior Cameron Boy in the 200-meter-dash, junior Kevin Bradley in the 400-meter-dash and senior Hassan Mead in the 3,000-meter-run. In the field, junior Oladipo Fagbemi won the triple jump, senior Trey Davis won the shot put and junior Micah Hegerle won the weight throw.
The Gophers’ 4x400-meter relay, comprised of sophomore Jacob Capek, junior John Holton, Pachuta and Bradley, also finished first.
The women’s team won its meet with 190 team points. Second-place North Dakota State finished with 120, and third-place South Dakota scored 105.
“We started school this week, so the kids were all over the place. Some of them came out a little flat,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “We have a lot of work to do. It’s something where we have to see progression every week.”
Assistant coach Sarah Hesser agreed that more steps needed to be taken before the team can start to feel too comfortable.
“From here, we start competing against the best teams in the NCAA, so we have to make sure that intensity-wise, emotionally and physically we are prepared to take another leap forward.”
The Gophers swept the top three spots of two events: the 60-meter-dash (senior Chim Okoroji, freshman Chidera Obasih and freshman Sasha Davis) and the 800-meter-run (junior Heather Brunn, sophomore Katie Hill and senior Megan Smith).
Okoroji’s victory in the 60-meter-dash coupled with her second-place finish in the 200-meter-dash made for an impressive weekend.
“I made sure I ran relaxed and didn’t put too much pressure on myself as it was a home meet,” said Okoroji.
As for her two young teammates who finished right behind her in the 60-meter-dash, Okoroji said, “We are really trying to incorporate them into all of our meets. We are looking forward to how both of them can help us in the future, especially at Big Ten.”
Minnesota’s other champions were sophomore Stephanie Solfelt in the 5,000-meter-run, freshman Tina DeLakis in the shot put and senior DeAnne Hahn in the weight throw.
Next weekend, men’s track and field is scheduled to split the team between the St. Olaf Open in Northfield, Minn., the Bill Bergen Classic in Ames, Iowa, and the Warren Bowlus Open in Menomonie, Wis.
The women’s track team will compete in Mankato, Minn., at the Minnesota State Open.
Nominate an exceptional graduating senior for the upcoming Ski-U-Mah Issue!
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
Minneapolis Used Cars
Give back to the Minnesota community with a boat donation at boat4causes.org.
If you have been involved in a car accident call a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer for a free consultation.