Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Athletes: Blankenship/Flagstaff; Donnelly/Gophers; Joanna Harper

A transgender athlete, Joanna Harper,  talks about her experience HERE.

Stem cells

Use of bone marrow stem cells to treat rotator cuff tendon injuries HERE.

Dual Meet Rankings

Men's NCAA DI Dual Meet rankings are HERE. Gophers 7th in Midwest Region.

Women's Dual Meet rankings are HERE.  Gophers 19th in National ranking, Fourth in the Midwest.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

MDRA 7 Mile Photo Album by Wayne Kryduba

Wayne Kryduba's Photo Album for the MDRA 7-Mile is HERE.

Science, Coaches, and the Two Hour Marathon

Discussion on Science, coaches, and the sub two-hour marathon debate HERE.

News: Grand Blue Mile; Baylor/Stanford

Team USA Minnesota runners Gabe Grunewald,  Jon Grey, and Jonathan Peterson will also be making their outdoor track debut for 2015 at Stanford.

Rankings: NCAA DII, DIII

NCAA DII Outdoor rankings are HERE. MSU Mankato Men #2

NCAA DIII are HERE. UW LaCross men and women retain top spots.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Results: Herschel Niel Decathlon and Ashley Nally Heptathlon

Herschel Niel Decathlon results are HERE.
Ashley Nally Hepthatlon results are HERE.

Results: Viking Olympics; Raleigh Relays

Winona State sent team members to the Viking Olympics(Day 1 results HERE.) and the Raleigh Relays (results HERE.  Winona State summaries are HERE(Friday) and HERE(Saturday).

Shamrock Shuffle

Run'N Fun A Team takes fourth in the men's team race HERE.

Searchable individual results HERE.   Ben Sathre first MN male in 7th.  Melissa Agnew first MN female in 30th.

HS Results: All American Invitational

All American Invitational results are HERE. JV results are HERE.

Results: UC Riverside Spring Classic Invite

Four NDSU women ran times that ranked them in the top ten of all-time performances at the school at the Riverside Invitational on Saturday.  NDSU women's summary is HERE.  Men's summary is HERE. Results are HERE.

Summary of Minnetonka grad Angus Stoudt's win in the decathlon on Friday is HERE.  Willmar High grad Rose Jackson was third in the Heptathlon.  Results are HERE. Summary is HERE.

Wayzata grad Michael Smith was on the runner up 4 by 100 relay team. Results HERE.  He was also fifth in the open 400 in 48.52.  Results HERE. He finished the day by anchoring the 4 by 400 relay to a third place finish.  Results are HERE.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Updated: Emporia State U Spring Opener: MSU Mankato 1st in Men's, 3rd in Women's

MSU Mankato women finish third.  St. Cloud State finished 11th in the men's, 13th in the women's. Final official results are HERE.
MSU Mankato men's summary is HERE. Women's is HERE.

St. Cloud State summary is HERE.

Updated: CSB-SJU Quad; Yellow Jacket Spring Open; Point Loma Nazarene U Invite

CSB-SJU Quad results are HERE(men) and HERE(women)
Concordia Moorhead summary is HERE(men) and HERE(women).
St. Ben's summary is HERE.
St. John's summary is HERE.
Hamline men's summary is HERE.  Women HERE.

Yellow Jacket Spring Open results are (by event, men and women) HERE
U-Mary summary is HERE.

Live Results from the Point Loma Nazarene University Invitational are HERE.
Gustavus summary is HERE.

Results: PAC 12/Big 10 Invite; Washington University Invite

Maggie Ewen won the women's discus at the PAC 12/Big 10 Invitational in Tempe, AZ with a season's best throw of 52.98m HERE.  She also finished fifth in the shot with a heave of  14.91m.  Shot Put results are HERE.  Live Results are HERE.

Mason Ferlic was 18th in the men's 1500 in 3:52.75. Results HERE.

MSU Moorhead day one summary for the Washington University Invitational is HERE. Preview is HERE.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Year of the Pole Vault: Mark Volker

Weather: Neither Snow, Nor Wind, Nor...

...Nothing keeps them from practice

Youth Running: Keep it Fun

Some opinions on youth running HERE.

Stats: ARRS Database

For all those who can't get enough running statistics, the ARRS Database is now online HERE

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Luca Wieland: the Path to the Championship

Luca Wieland and Garrett Scantling approach the finish of the 1000
Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota
The journey to the NCAA Indoor Track men's heptathlon title began two years ago in an unlikely place, Berlin, Germany.  It was then and there that a promising young athlete named Luca Wieland was making plans for his future when opportunity presented itself in the form of a University of Wisconsin Madison coach who came to Germany to entice talented German athletes to give the US collegiate system a try.

Unbenownst to Luca the coaching staff at the University of Minnesota was also searching for a specific talent to recruit. Steve Plasencia, the Gopher's head track and cross country coach, notes that the coaches divide up the recruiting according to their event responsibilities.  "We all recruit our own areas," said Plasencia. That meant that Paul Thornton, an assistant coach for the Gophers who works with the sprinters, hurdlers, and multi-event athletes was charged with finding some multi eventers who would be interested in Minnesota.

Each "recruiting class," student athletes with the talents the Gopher's want that year, has specific goals.  In 2013 one of those goals was to find multi event athletes.  The search for prospects begins "in our back yard," said Thornton, looking at athletes from around the State and surrounding areas.  They also get inquiries from recruiting services. In 2013 one of those the service provided was Luca.  After sorting through all the prospects "we were looking at three guys," said Thornton, "and one of those was Luca."

A soccer player until he was 14, Luca's parents urged him to try track.  Without practicing specifically for track "I won" my events, said Wieland.  "You always like what you're good at," he said, and from that point on he was a track athlete.

His success in track got him thinking about the future.  Luca wanted to "go pro," become proficient enough in track to make an Olympic team, to rise to the top of the sport.  "I'm a really ambitious person," Wieland said, meaning that he didn't want to be just good.  He wanted to be the best he could be.  In Germany the opportunity to mix being the best he could be academically and athletically wasn't possible, he said.  You had to choose one or the other.

In the US he saw the opportunity to get a first class education while training to reach his equally lofty goals in athletics. Thornton got in touch via email, followed up with Facebook messaging and then talking the phone. Talking a "couple of times a week" during the recruiting process, said Thornton.  Wieland was not only a potentially top athlete, he was a top student as well, said Thornton.  Wieland wanted a school that could satisfy his academic as well as his athletic needs.

The Gopher program offered Wieland both, said Thornton.  "He was attracted by the big city(Minneapolis)," Thornton said.  "He was impressed with the quality of education he could get, the history of multi event talent we've had here at the University...The decathlon is such a demanding event that it is important to have training partners. It's not the sort of event you train for alone."  The coaches wanted a decathlete who could also score points in an individual event.  Luca fit that description as he "has a lot of speed" and was a good long jumper with a PR of 24'3".

Wieland had interest from other schools as well, but decided on Minnesota early, and began to put a plan in place.  "He had a plan on how to develop," said Thornton.  In athletics and academics, you need to have a plan to succeed, he added.  Life is always throwing you curves, but it helps to have a foundation to build on or switch to and from if you want to be successful.

Academically, Wieland decided to enroll in the business program at the U of M with the ultimate goal to go back to Germany after his collegiate career was over and attempt to get into medical school. The main advantage being that medical school in Germany is "free," no cost for the tuition, which is a major burden for medical students in the US.  The challenge in Germany is to get into medical school, not how to pay for it.

It's an intense, six year program, after which you start practicing medicine.  Depending on how things go in 2016 and beyond, Wieland may have to shift his academic/career goals until his athletic career has run its course. Luca will have his first shot at making the German team for Rio in 2016.  With his win at this year's NCAA Indoor championships and breaking the 6000 point barrier,  Luca believes he has the potential to achieve that goal. "I am really ambitious person," he repeated, but not unrealistic.

His score at NCAAs ranks second among German multi eventers this year.  He accomplished despite some significant obstacles.  When he arrived in Minnesota last year, he was hobbled by a persistent hamstring injury.  Much of his first year was dealing with that injury, getting healthy.  At points along the way he wondered if his lofty athletic goals were possible.  He believed he has the talent.  The question remained would he be able to develop that talent despite his seemingly fragile hamstrings.

One answer to that question may have come via this year's Big Ten indoor championships.  Prior to the event, Luca was not sure he would get to or through the meet.  The hamstring troubles had flared up again and resulted in treatment from the Gopher trainers.  "They did a great job getting me through it," said Wieland,.who whe won the Big Ten title and gained confidence in time for NCAA's two weeks later.

In Arkansas for the ultimate collegiate test, Luca's talent blossomed.  While he didn't come into it with his eye on the national title, he said he knew he had the talent to win if things went right.  They did as he scored personal bests in nearly every event and came into the last event having only one obstacle separating him from the NCAA heptathlon crown, the pre-meet favorite for the title, Georgia's Garrett Scantling.

"What an outstanding competition," said Thornton of the battle between Luca and Garrett.  "(Scantling) did everything he could to win it."  While Scantling came up two points short he and Luca may have begun a rivalry with this being Act One.  Luca used his speed and jumping ability to take the lead early on, open a 100 point gap after day one, and continued to produce clutch performances on the second day to come away with the win.

For Luca it was a confidence boost and a relief that the injuries may be behind him and the athletic goals that he has are more than just an ambition.  Plasencia was impressed with Luca's ability to focus on the challenge and execute under pressure.  "He never showed any kind of chink (in his armor)," said Plasencia.  When it came time for the last event, the 1000 meters, not a strong suit for Weiland, he and the coaches talked over the strategy, the race plan.

It was a simple plan, but the execution was not.  Luca had to be Scantling's shadow, stay close and hope that Garrett couldn't break him.  "I wanted to beat him(Scantling),"  said Wieland.  He didn't want to feel like he was "backing into" the title.  His plan was to follow Scantling through to the final straight and launch his kick off that final curve.

He was in position, but also in "traffic" as several other runners became obstacles and Scantling was able to navigate the congestion better than Luca.  As a result the final straight kick was not a triumphant charge toward the finish, but a mad dash to maintain his lead.  Luca kept the two point gap and learned a lot about himself.

"I didn't think could push myself that hard," said Wieland, but he discovered that he had what it took when the pressure was on and the title was up for grabs. The path to the title was not easy, but that only made it more rewarding.

Science: Exercise "Sweat Spot"

How much exercise is enough, too much?  The debate continues HERE

News: Kara Goucher

Kara Goucher talks about the past year and her plans for 2015-16 HERE

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

News: More Drake Relays entries; Recruiting; Running Shoe Advice

Rankings: DIII

NCAA DIII Outdoor Track rankings HERE.

Awards: Big 10 AOW; Summit League Indoor AOY

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rankings: NCAA DI, DII

NCAA DI Outdoor rankings HERE.

NCAA DII rankings are HERE.

News: Need for Speed; Scissor kicking 1.95m; Gopher Indoor Stats; Rethwisch/Fulbright Scholar; Rio; Ferretti; Sometimes a Hurdle is just an Opportunity in Disguise; Importance of Kids Being Active: Edwin Moses

Must be outdoor track season, Sun Sailor profiles Wayzata sprinters  HERE.

Kids, don't try this at home
2015 Gopher men's indoor performance list is HERE.

You may be able to figure it out, but loosely translated it says: 500 days until the Olympics in Rio

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle preview of Alexi Pappas, filmmaker, writer, actress, and she runs pretty quick too HERE.

Gopher hammer thrower Gian Ferretti gets a mention and short bio in Long Throws HERE.

Edwin Moses on the importance of helping kids stay active HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2015

News: NCAA Indoors DIII outstanding performers ;Hamline to Host US Paralympics Championships; Gophers, Marathon March Madness

USTFCCCA NCAA DIII Outstanding Performers HERE

As announced last week, Hamline will host US Paralympics T&F Championships June 19-21, 2015 HERE.

Minnesota Daily story on Gopher men and women's first outdoor meets HERE.

Marathon "March Madness." HERE.

US Masters Indoor Championships

A Summary of Minnesota results from the USATF Indoor Masters Championships this past weekend in North Carolina.

Kathy Haubrich was part of the champion Athena team that won the 4 by 200 W55 relay in 2:09.47. Haubrich was ninth in the 200 meter prelims in 35.47.

Brian Lundberg won the M45 3K in 9:48.21.
Pat Billig was second in the M50  3K in 9:38

Susan Loyd finished third in the W55 60 meters in 9.74.  She was eighth in the W55 400 meters in 1:18.98, and was also eighth in the W200 meter prelims in 33.79. Loyd was also a member of the winning 4 by 400 team in the non-club division(team was made up of "unattached" runners who were members of different teams). They were timed in 5:41.78.

Jim Schoffman finished third in the M60 60 meters in 8.69.  He was seventh in the 400 meters in 1:03.08, and was a member of the runner-up Mass Velocity M60 4 by 200 relay that was timed in 2:01.32.