In the outdoor season, the 4x100-meter relay was the Golden Gophers' best event, advancing to its second straight NCAA Championships meet. Minnesota returns some of that relay team as well as several other promising athletes in addition to bringing in some exciting newcomers. GopherSports.com sat down with head coach Matt Bingle to talk about the sprints, jumps and hurdles.
GopherSports: Who are some returners you are especially excited about right now?
Matt Bingle: To be honest, I'm excited about a lot of people, just because we were so young last year. You can see huge growth in them. There's a long list of people I'm excited about. One of the biggest things I'm telling them is, "We've just got to get better, and everybody has to do their part on and off the track." That's what they're focusing on right now. Everybody's moving forward together. Relatively, we're still young. We have a good group of seniors. We have Kylie Peterson, who's having a great fall in the weight room and on the track. Those seniors--Alena Brooks, Kylie, and Todea-Kay Willis--are all doing a good job.
GopherSports: What are you looking for from each group?
Matt Bingle: In the sprints, obviously we're excited to have Kylie and Alena back. And TK was the Jamaican national champion in long jump this summer. She went 6.37 meters. She's doing well, and we're just starting to work on long jump now. She's very focused right now. She just needs to stay the course, keep trying to get better, and work on little things that are going to help her improve her jumping. She will have a more prominent role in the sprints this year. She's going to focus on the long jump and doing the 60 meters indoors.
Te'Shon Adderley is new from Iowa Central College. She's had a very good fall. She's transitioned well with the team. She's been running with the cross country team this fall, and now she's transitioning to be with the 600 and 800 meters group with the sprinters. We're kind of going back and forth with her. She represented the Bahamas at the World Junior Championships, where she ran 2:07 in Spain. She's fitting in well and we're excited about her potential. The potential to have her and Alena indoors in that 600 and 800 group has us excited to see how they turn out.
We're also excited about the development of Frances Conlin, Jessica Waldvogel, and Madison Smith. Megan Geyen has had a great fall and she's ready to take the next step. Chidera Obasih had a good indoor season last year and she's coming back better. Erin Hawkins, a really talented freshman, is doing well right now. I'm excited about that group.
In the pole vault, Katie Murgic returns. She had a good freshman campaign last year and looks a lot better this fall.Stephanie Oleson is having a good fall. We're excited about the addition of Cami Gilson, who went over 13 feet in high school last year.
In the multi-events, we return Nicole Murphey and Jess Herauf. They really committed over the summertime. They're doing a lot of work and doing what is necessary. We also have the addition of Alex and Amanda Beckman, who redshirted last year. They're off to a great start. We added Audra Winter in that group as a freshman, and she has been doing even better than I thought.
In the long jump we'll have Todea-Kay. Nicole Murphey is coming along in the long jump. She went 19 feet at the end of the last year. In triple jump, I'm excited about Bria Halama. She went close to 40 feet last year as a redshirt freshman, and she was pretty beat up. With the addition of Shani Marks coaching her, I feel excited about that.
GopherSports: Can you talk about the overall improvement of this group?
Matt Bingle: Of course we won't know exactly how much better they are until competition starts, but they are all doing a great job this fall and you can definitely see improvement. I think we'll be better this year. Our goal is to score a lot more points at the Big Ten meet. We'll hopefully be healthier this year, which will give us a lot more depth. I'm cautiously optimistic.
It's been a great Fall. They're working their tails off. They're committed. They're making changes off the track. They're making mental changes. As I tell them all the time, it's not enough. I need more. They understand that, and they're working their butts off. It's really fun going to practice because they're committed to getting better. There's a lot of learning going on. It makes you feel good every day. I love going to practice, and I think they feel the same way.
That's what I like about this group. This is what it was like in '06, '07, '08, '09. I couldn't wait to get to practice because those guys were ready to work. This group is a very blue collar group, too, because they want to do great things. You tell them what to do, they'll do their best to do it.