On a busy weekend of top-flight indoor track and field action, a Minnesotan grabbed the USA triple title while the state's premiere track team fell just short of a fourth-straight Big Ten crown.
Triple Jump Titlist ... Amanda Smock, the reigning USA outdoor triple jump champion, won her first USA Indoor title with a mark of 45-2 1/4 on Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the USA Indoor Championships.
The Melrose native landed the winning jump in the fifth round of competition, taking the lead from Olympian Erica McLain, who had paced the competition at 45-1. Crystal Manning was third at 44-9 1/2.
The win bodes well for Smock, a North Dakota State alumnus, who will likely face similar competition at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June as she pursues a spot on the Olympic Team.
Other notable Minnesota performances at the meet include Bryan Tolcser's 4th-place finish in the weigh throw with 72-2 1/2, Garrett Heath's 4th-place finish in the men's 1500-meter in 3:49.59, Justin Tyner's 4th-place finish in the 3000m run in 8:11.25, and Jim Dilling's 5th-place result in the high jump at 7-1 3/4.
Find complete USA Indoor results HERE.
Gopher Men Just Miss ... The University of Minnesota men's track team waged a furious, second-day pursuit of a fourth-straight Big Ten indoor title, but fell four points shy of champion Indiana.
Ohio State, Indiana, and the Gophers all worked to close the gap host Nebraska had built in the first day of competition of the two-day meet. After a banner second day, and thanks to Hassan Mead's victory in the 5000m, the penultimate event of the meet, the Gopher were in striking distance of the Huskers going into the 4 x 400m Relay.
By then, however, Indiana's 3-4-5 finish in the 5000m had put the Hoosiers atop the standings.
Minnesota finished 3rd in the 4 x 400 --ahead of the 5th-place Indiana and the 8th-place Cornhuskers -- but their two-day total was still shy of victory. Indiana tallied 104 points; the Gophers scored 100; Nebraska had 99.
Harun Abda won individual titles for the Gophers at 400m and 600m, setting a new Big Ten record in the latter event with 1:15.86. (Minnesota’s Tom Gerding held the old record at 1:16.19.)
Micah Hegerle won the weight throw title with a mark of 70-6 1/2. Hassan Mead's 5000m title in 13:43.13 was paired with a runner-up finish in the 3000m on Friday night.
Find full results HERE.
Find a wrap-up of the men's meet HERE.
Women 11th ... The University of Minnesota finished 11th in women's competition with 11 points.
“The team gave a good effort this weekend,” Gopher women's coach Matt Bingle said. “Obviously, we are not where we want to be, but we will learn from our mistakes, get back to work and work on the little things. We will be better in the outdoor season.”
Find a wrap-up of the women's meet HERE.