The Gophers men’s and women’s track and field teams continued their strong traditions at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, this weekend.
The men won two events while the women won one and set a school record.
Senior Travis Burkstrand was a part of both the men’s titles. He won the 800-meter run and the 4x800-meter relay with senior Harun Abda and redshirt freshmen Goaner Deng and Alex Brend.
The 800-meter run pitted Burkstrand, a distance runner, against Abda, a middle-distance runner. Burkstrand edged Abda by a little more than three tenths of a second with his time of 1:49.32.
“I think it was just how the race played out,” Burkstrand said. “He did all the work for the first 500 meters, and I just kind of hung on.”
Burkstrand’s title was Minnesota’s first-ever in the 800 at the Drake Relays. Assistant coach Paul Thornton said the feat was special because the Drake Relays are more of a relay meet.
Burkstrand said he enjoyed collaborating with the distance runners and his younger teammates in the relay. They clocked 7:26.49 to collect the Gophers’ third-straight trophy in the event.
The Gophers’ 4x1,600-meter relay of juniors Derek Storkel and Bobby Nicolls, sophomore Blayne Dulian and Brend placed second, crossing the finish line in 16:45.51.
Senior Oladipo Fagbemi finished third in the triple jump at 15.59 meters.
The women’s team won the distance medley relay in school record-setting fashion. Senior Alena Brooks, juniors TeShon Adderley, Katie Hill and Laura Docherty ran the event in 11:06.47 to beat the previous record from 2007 by nearly two seconds.
Docherty received the baton in fourth place to start her anchor leg, but she made up the distance to cross the line first.
Volunteer assistant coach Sarah Hesser said the team felt it had underperformed in other relays and wanted to make up for it in the distance medley relay.
“They were phenomenal,” Hesser said. “It really meant a lot to [retiring assistant coach Gary Wilson] … to get a win in that stadium because it’s a place that we have had a lot of history.”
The Gophers’ 4x1,600-meter relay team of juniors Maggie Bollig, Ashlie Decker, Docherty and redshirt freshman Becca Dyson placed second with a time of 19:23.25.
Junior Katie Moraczewski competed individually and placed second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal-record time of 10:15.37.
Throwers win two titles
The men’s throwers competed at the UCSD Triton Invitational in San Diego and picked up two titles.
Senior Micah Hegerle won the hammer throw invitational at 64.67 meters, and sophomore Logan Hussung won the open section of the shot put at 17.49 meters.