This weekend at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse, the Gopher women won their second straight Big Ten Indoor Championship. That makes it four of the last five Big Ten Championships(XC, Indoor and Outdoor) have been won by the University of Minnesota women. Head coach Matt Bingle gave these replies to questions from DtB.
DtB: Your pre-meet quotes take on what I, tongue in cheek, call the Cyndi Lauper approach--girls just wanna have fun--to the competition. Any insights into the rationale for this approach. Why you use it?
MB: The girls taught me this. When I first came here I tried the fire and brimstone. Did not work. So I changed to what my team was like.
DtB: You also said that you like it better when you are on the road, so you had the team stay in a hotel for the Big Tens. Why the desire to recreate the "road" atmosphere?
MB: The women on the team like to hang out together and are more relaxed when we do travel together. So we were just trying to recreate that atmosphere.
DtB: Why do you believe it works for the team?
MB: I think this team knows how to compete and has the fire in them to do that. I don't need to fire them up. They are all ready lit. The staff just needs to create that fun atmosphere, and let them do the rest
DtB: How important was the good start you had on the first day of the meet?
MB: It was awesome. Those event finals on Saturday really got the team rolling, and it just took off!
DtB: You noted the importance of Heather's (Dorniden)efforts in the 600. Were you beginning to feel pressure or panic as Michigan was making its run?
MB: I think we were starting to look at the point situation down the stretch, so it did seem critical at that point.
DtB: What were your thoughts when you saw Heather go down?
MB: We are going to lose. Then it was we can do this. Finally, she is going to get that girl.
DtB: How quickly did they change when she got up and won the heat?
MB: After that you felt relieved, but then it was the 5K and Michigan had Kohlmier. So we were still not assured of anything.
DtB: Is the Big Ten win something you have time to savor now or do you just go into planning mode for the NCAA Championships and outdoor season?
MB: I savored the win on Sunday night with my family, and we are now looking ahead to the NCAAs and to outdoor. That is what is great about track. You just have to keep looking ahead. There is always something, whether it is recruiting or competing.
DtB: What are the special memories that you'll take away from this weekend?
MB: Liz Roehrig breaking the Big ten record and winning her fourth title in the event. First ever Minnesota athlete in any sport to do so. Watching the team going crazy during the high jump, 600 meters, and 800 meters. Hearing the crowd go crazy during the 600/800 races and, finally, to win on our own track with our families and friends!