Monday, May 19, 2008

Gopher Teams 3rd, 5th at Big Ten Outdoors

Big Brown won this weekend, but not Big Maroon.

The University of Minnesota women's hoped-for triple crown of Big Ten cross country, indoor and outdoor track titles fell short at the finish line Sunday as the Gophers finished 3rd at the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Champaign, Illinois.

Penn State won the title with 151 points, Michigan was second with 118, and the Gophers followed with 113.5.

The Gophers gathered individual titles from heptathlete Liz Roehrig, who amassed 5855 points to break her own school record in the event, and 800 meter star Heather Dorniden, who had finished 2nd in the 1500m earlier in the day Sunday. Liz Podominick (shot and discus), Ruby Radocaj (javelin), and Caitlin Roemholdt (high jump) also earned runner-up points for the team.

“This is a tough meet, one where you have just keep battling,” head coach Matt Bingle said. “Penn State came up big in some events and had the overall depth to take the team title. We weren’t able to match it. Still, we had some outstanding individual efforts this weekend. It’s nice to see Heather (Dorniden) and Liz (Roehrig) win individual titles since they are so unselfish at this meet, thinking only of team first."

Penn State's win does give Minnesotans something to cheer about -- the Nittany Lions coach, Beth Alford-Sullivan, is a Hopkins High School graduate and a former University of Minnesota cross country team captain.

Gopher men earn four individual titles ... Although the Gopher men's 5th place finished at Big Ten put them further down the final standings than the program has been used to lately, the young squad returns with lots of champion's hardware. Juniors Ibrahim Kabia (100m), Hans Storvick (800m), and Chris Rombough (10,000m) along with true-freshman Hassan Mead (5000), won Big Ten titles.

Kabia's win in the 100m is only the second time a Golden Gopher has won the event in Big Ten Outdoor Championship history.

“Our program is used to high team finishes, but I was extremely proud to see four of our young men win Big Ten titles,” out-going men's head coach Phil Lundin said. “This whole team is returning next year and I expect to see more golden performances from them in the future."

Michigan edged four-time defending champs Wisconsin for the team title.

You can find day-by-day coverage of the meet via the Gopher track and field web-sites below ...

Women: Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3

Men: Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3

Results from the meet are HERE.

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