The Gophers women’s track and field team encountered some of its toughest competition so far this season at the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational on Friday and Saturday in South Bend, Ind.
Minnesota only won one event at the meet, which didn’t keep team scores.
The Gophers’ ‘A’ team won the distance medley relay without much of a challenge. Redshirt freshman Becca Dyson, senior Alena Brooks, junior Te’Shon Adderley and junior Maggie Bollig ran 11:28.31 to claim first by more than five seconds.
“There was no competition, and so we were way out in front,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “They know they can run faster. But it’s always good to win.”
Several athletes also set personal or season records at the meet.
Brooks placed second in the 800-meter run at 2:06.24 — the second-best time in school history.
“I felt so blessed because … I thought about it. I dreamt about it,” Brooks said of the personal record. “I’ve been working hard toward it, and for it to finally come true, I was just overjoyed.”
Junior Laura Docherty and sophomore Molly Kayfes both set personal records in the 3,000-meter run. Docherty ran 9:28.45 for second place, and Kayfes ran 9:32.02 for third place.
In the field, sophomore Katie Murgic made a season-best height of 3.85 meters to place fourth in the pole vault on a judge’s decision. Senior Todea-Kay Willis also finished fourth in the long jump on a judges’ decision with a distance of 5.93 meters.
The women will return to action next weekend at the ISU Classic in Ames, Iowa, and the St. Thomas Invite in St. Paul.
Lehman leads throwers
Most of the Gophers men’s track and field team took the weekend off from competition, but the throws team traveled to the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb.
Junior Jon Lehman won the weight throw on a judge’s decision and recorded a new personal record with a toss of 20.97 meters.
“I think that’s a mark that will for sure get Jon Lehman into the national meet now,” assistant coach Lynden Reder said. “So any time you can come away from a meet with a national qualifying mark, you feel like that was worth the trip.”
Lehman said achieving such a far throw early in the season gives him peace of mind.
“Last year I was one of the last people left out [of the national meet], so I was a little upset about that,” Lehman said. “It really helps knowing that the rest of the season I can train hard, and I don’t have to chase a mark.”
In the shot put, redshirt freshman Luke Johnson had the Gophers’ best finish in ninth place.
“’We would have liked to have done a little more [in the shot put],” Reder said. “It’s a pretty young group. … It’s a pretty major regular-season meet.
“It’s a good learning experience for those guys.”
Reder said it’s important for the younger throwers to learn how to throw well in their first three attempts so they can make the finals.
“This is really when our season begins now,” Reder said. “Here in Nebraska and then now in the next three weeks is really when our guys are going to round into form and be ready for the Big Ten championships and the national meet.”
The Gophers also sent a group of pole vaulters to the Thundering Herd Classic in Fargo, N.D. Senior Jack Szmanda placed third with a height of 5.05 meters.
The full men’s team will compete at a variety of meets next weekend.