If you're thinking this weekend's Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame will offer a nice sneak peek at the 12th ranked Minnesota Gopher women's team's prospects at Big Ten Indoor Championships, you're in good company.
Gopher coach Matt Bingle is thinking the same thing.
"The Notre Dame meet is our first real test of the indoor season," Bingle told DtB in an e-mail recently. "You are right that it is a time for us to evaluate where we are at with each of our women and also will give us some insight on what we need to do to get prepared for the Big Ten meet."
"There will be several Big Ten schools at the meet," he added, "so it should be good to see how our team reacts to that. But on the flip side to that we know where we are at in training and feel that we will be a lot better in a few weeks when we are rested for the Big Ten meet!"
Last year the Gopher women were third at the indoor championship but then went on to win the Big Ten outdoor title. Of Big Ten schools, only Michigan, #6, is ranked higher than the Gophers nationally. Iowa is ranked #18.
"Right now I think that we are one of the top 4 teams indoor, but that whoever can keep improving in the month of February will have a best shot at the title," Bingle offered. "Michigan was the indoor champion last year and I would think that they are the favorites and have the pressure to repeat."
Qualifying top individuals for the NCAA Indoor meet is also an objective for the Gophers this weekend.
"I would say that we are looking for our DMR to qualify along with some of our mid-distance people," he said. "Our throwers are already qualified but need to improve there marks on the list. We also would like to see some of the other women get on the list from the jumps as well."
"We use this meet plus the Iowa State meet to qualify for the NCAA meet," he added. "So we are hoping to come out of these next two weekends with some women that will punch there ticket to the NCAA meet."