Monday, January 31, 2011

McGregor 4th, Lehmkuhle 5th at USA Half

Defending USA Road Circuit champion Katie McGregor finished 4th at Saturday's USA Half Marathon Championships held in conjunction with the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

Three-time Olympian Jen Rhines won the race, which kicked of the 2011 USARC season, in 1:11:14. McGregor ran 1:12:13, finishing behind Serena Burla and Nan Kennard.

McGregor's Team USA Minnesota teammate Jason Lehmkuhle finished 5th in the men's race in 1:02:49.

Mohamed Trafeh won the race in 1:02:17, followed by Ryan Hall, the American record-holder for the distance, former Team USA Minnesota runner Patrick Smyth, and Fasil Bizuneh.

Lehmkuhle has often found success at the USA Half Marathon, finishing 2nd in 2008, 3rd in 2005 and 5th in 2007.

Many of Minnesota's top long distance runners made the trip south for the race. Jennifer Houck, the 2009 Minnesota Runner of the Year finished 12th in the women's race in 1:15:02, while Robbinsdale Armstrong alumnus Leah Thorvilson finished 24th in 1:17:51.

In the men's race, Team USA Minnesota's Josh Moen finished 13th in 1:05:05; former St. John's University star Chris Erichsen was 18th in 1:05:42; Dan Greeno, the 2010 Minnesota Runner of the Year finished 34th in 1:07:37, and Donovan Fellows was 46th in 1:10:03.

Find complete results of the USA Half Marathon HERE.

Find video coverage of the race and interviews HERE.

USA Track & Field has a photo gallery from the race HERE.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gophers' Schwecke Leads Iowa State Heptathlon

After yesterday's opening day of competition, University of Minnesota senior Joey Schwecke leads the heptathlon at Iowa State’s Bill Bergan Invitational.

Schwecke, the 2009 Big Ten heptathlon runner-up, kicked off the competition with career bests in the 60-meters and the long jump en route to scoring 3186 points, his highest first-day total of his Gopher career.

Schwecke clocked a time of 7.06 seconds in the 60m to start off the seven-event, two-day competition. The Gopher co-captain followed with a career-best 23-9 3/4 in the long jump. Schwecke maintained his lead with a throw of 42-0 in the shot put. He completed his opening day clearing a height of 6-6 in the high jump.

Michigan State's Kurt Schneider is currently in second place overall with 3127 points.

The Gophers' Brock Spandl is currently in sixth place with 2946 points. Spandl ran 7.23 in the 60m, marked 22-10 1/2 long jump, put the shot 35-11 1/4, and cleared 6-6 in the high jump.

Find Day 1 results HERE.

The event concludes today with the 60m high hurdles, pole vault, and 1000m.

TCM Contributed $336,702 to Charity in 2010

Twin Cities In Motion, the organizers of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and an array of other events, has announced that it raised $336,702 for charity in 2010.

TCM, together with its community partners and training teams, raised the money through entry fundraisers, individual donations, and contributions to the Friends of TCM program.

TCM focuses it charitable giving on promoting healthy youth through running events

“The energy the event creates inspires people to want to share the amazing feeling of the finish line with our youth - who have a lot to learn from the power of crossing a finish line,” Stephanie Leonard, Volunteer and Marketing Director for Bolder Options, a TCM-supported charity, said in a TCM media release. “The financial support is a great boost for us, but the spirit of the event is what really benefits Bolder Options and the youth involved in our program.”

In addition to monetary donations, goods were also donated to TCM’s In-Kind Community Partners, Hand-in-Hand Together, US’Again Clothes Collection System, and the Emergency Foodshelf Network, the organization said.

US’Again alone collected 3,000 pounds of clothing from this year’s race while the Emergency Foodshelf Network received 46,600 pounds of water, bananas, and potato chips from TCM.

Find more information about TCM's community outreach efforts HERE.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yes/No: Team USA Minn. at the USA Half

Somehow, Yes/No is returning to Down the Backstretch for its third year in 2011!

You might think that since this is an otherwise respected running news site, we in the Fantasy Sports Department must possess incriminating photos of a certain DtB Publisher/Editor for shenanigans like Yes/No and Pick Ten (our other little game) to continue. We'll never tell.
But, we will try to find new and exciting ways to keep the competitions fun in this new year.

It might be cold in Minnesota but the Aramco Houston Half Marathon always seems to boast good running weather. This year the race will again crown the USA Half Marathon Champion for men and women. The course will also feature a preview of the race course for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the Marathon.

Team USA Minnesota runners were front and center in the 2010 edition of this race. Antonio Vega took the top prize, followed by then-teammate Patrick Smyth, with Josh Moen and Matt Gabrielson also finishing in the top 10. This year, the training group will be represented by Jason Lehmkuhle, Josh Moen, and seven-time National Champion Katie McGregor.

Hence, our question ...

Y/N: Will Jason Lehmkuhle AND Katie McGregor finish among the top 6 Americans in their respective races at the USA Half Marathon Championship on Saturday in Houston?

Katie McGregor was the 2010 USATF Women's Long Distance Runner of the Year, winning three USA titles on the roads and securing the USA Running Circuit title. She has run 1:12:01 for half marathon as well as 31:21 for 10,000 meters.

Jason Lehmkuhle has finished in the top five at the USA Half Marathon Champs three times (2005, 2007 and 2008). His half P.R. is 1:02:32. Lehmkuhle ran a tune-up 3000 at the U of M last week in 8:12.

The fast course is attracting a strong domestic field, as usual. Top contenders include Ryan Hall, Abdi Abdirahman and Mo Trafeh on the men's side and Serena Burla, Jen Rhines and Magdelena Lewy Boulet for the women.

To play our game, simply type "yes" or "no" into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us at DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 7:00 A.M. CST, Saturday, January 29th. Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

My answer: Yes

The 2010 Yes/No results are posted at DtB Fantasy Corner. You can also find the 2009 results at that site as well. Yes/No generously awards no prizes to its winners, so high school and collegiate athletes and coaches can play without fear of running afoul of anti-wagering regulations.

For the new year, we will continue to tally results and list the overall leaders. We are looking at crowning victors in various categories as well. Details to follow as the year progresses...

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

College Indoor Track Rankings Round-Up

Yesterday, as we noted on our Twitter and Facebook feeds (see sidebars), the University of Minnesota men's track team rose one place in the latest USTFCCCA Division I indoor rankings.

The Gopher men are now ranked #15 in the nation.

LSU leads the rankings. Indiana at #7 and Penn State at #10 top the Gopher men among Big Ten schools.

The Gopher women dropped six places in the latest rankings, falling to #51.

Oregon leads the women's ratings; Indiana is the top-ranked Big Ten school at #16

Find full Division I rankings HERE.

Division II ... Minnesota State, Mankato's men's team was ranked #19 in the latest D2 indoor track rankings, moving up a spot in the last edition of the ratings. The Maverick's are the lone Minnesota men's team in the rankings.

Winona State, at #16, leads the state's D2 women's teams. The Minnesota State, Mankato women are ranked #25.

Find full Division II rankings HERE.

Division III ... Rankings in NCAA Division III are scheduled to be released later today. Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates.

The full Division III rankings will ultimately appear HERE.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hall of Fame Inductee: Stephanie Herbst-Lucke

Editor's Note: Here's our penultimate installment in our profile series of the 2010 Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame inductees.

Stephanie Herbst-Lucke

Stephanie Herbst-Lucke's unique and impressive running career began in her native Chaska. In high school, Herbst-Lucke won an MSHSL State title in cross country, back-to-back 3200-meter State crowns, as well as a State 1600-meter title.

Herbst-Lucke (pictured) attended the University of Wisconsin and soon established herself as the nation's top collegiate long-distance runner. She won seven individual Big Ten titles and was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year in 1985-86.

Herbst-Lucke was a six-time NCAA All-American and winner of three NCAA titles. In 1986 she set NCAA records in her victories at 3000m indoors, and at 5000 and 10,000m outdoors. She set the collegiate all-time record in the 10,000m that year as well.

Herbst-Lucke competed in the 1985 and 1986 Olympic Festivals and in 1988 qualified for the Olympic Track and Field Trials. In 2000, author Frank Murphy made Herbst-Lucke the central figure in his book about women's long distance running, The Silence of Long Distance.

After a 20-year break from competition, Herbst-Lucke returned to racing as a masters runner. Unbeaten as a master and still competitive against open runners, Herbst-Lucke has made two USA World Half Marathon teams and two USA Ekiden teams.

Herbst-Lucke owns the American masters record for 30K -- 1:49:31 -- which she set in 2008 and for 10 Miles, which she established last fall at age 44 at the Medtronic TC 10 Mile, running 55:36 and finishing in 8th-place overall.

A resident of Atlanta, Herbst-Lucke is the chief marketing officer for Foot Solutions and, with husband Jim, parents children aged 15, 13, and 9-years-old.

Photo by Charlie Mahler.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gophers Strong at Jack Johnson Classic

The University of Minnesota track teams looked strong in their first high-test meet of the 2011 indoor season.

The two-time defending Big Ten indoor and outdoor champion men won six events in the collegiate competition of the meet, which featured solid NCAA Division I adversaries.

The Gopher women netted five individual titles.

The men's victories were spread across the event areas, although the Gopher middle distance crew was especially successful -- Big Ten champion Harun Abda, senior Mike Torchia, and sophomore Nick Hutton all won titles.

Abda edged Iowa’s Steven Willey by .14 to win the 600m in 1:17.85. Torchia had a come from behind win in the mile in 4:08.90. Hutton ran a Jack Johnson record 1:51:04 in the 800m.

Also capturing titles for the Gopher men were Brock Spandl, who won the pole vault at 17-1, Micah Hegerle, who won the weight throw with 63-9 3/4, and Trey Davis, who captured the shot put title with 56-1 3/4.

Distance runners also powered the Gopher women.

Nikki Swenson won the mile by out-racing Iowa’s Betsy Flood on the event's final lap to win in 4:46.62. Cross country All-American Stephanie Price won the 3000m in 9:38.37, with teammate Missa Varpness second at 9:39.23.

Katie Hill led a Gopher sweepin the 800 meters: Hill won in 2:12.14, Jamie Dittmar was second in 2:14.51, and Jamie Vandenberg was third in 2:15.68.

On Friday night, Laura Docherty on the 5000m for the Gophers in 17:36.16.

Sprint star Chimerem Okoroji rounded out the triumphs, running the two fastest 60m races of her Gopher career on Saturday. She set the Jack Johnson record with a 7.46 in the prelims; the #3 performance in Minnesota history. Later, she won the final at 7.50.

Find results of the meet HERE (men) and HERE (women).

Flotrack has video coverage of the meet HERE ... including THIS heartening interview with Hassan Mead who is on the comeback trail.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bemidji State to Drop Men's Track Program

Bemidji State University will drop its men's indoor and outdoor track and field programs at the end of this season, University officials announced yesterday.

In the school's media release on the subject, HERE, Bemidji State Athletic Director Rick Goeb highlighted the financial situation the school finds itself in -- an expected $5-million shortfall in the next two years.

In the Bemidji Pioneer's story on the campus-wide cuts being made at Bemidji State, HERE, University President
Richard Hanson said eliminating men's track and field had more to do with Title IX compliance than the budget shortfall.

The programs were targeted for elimination two years ago, but were given a temporary reprieve in late 2008, according to the Bemidji State release.

Current members of the BSU men’s track and field teams will have the opportunity to complete the current indoor and outdoor competition seasons. NCAA rules will allow Bemidji State athletes who wish to transfer to another school to be eligible immediately at the new institution.

Bemidji State will continue to offer women's indoor and outdoor track and field as well as cross country. Bemidji State does not offer men's cross country.

Season Hits Full Stride at Jack Johnson

The University of Minnesota indoor season hits full stride this weekend when the Gophers host the Jack Johnson Classic at the University Fieldhouse today and tomorrow.

The Gopher teams will host Iowa, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State, University of South Florida, South Dakota State, and Manitoba as well as a handful of open athletes in the meet in which the Gophers typically pull out all the early-season stops.

Competition begins today at 3:00 p.m., with multi-event athletes taking center stage. Saturday's program begins at 10:00 a.m.

Find the full order of events HERE.

The Gopher coaches offer video previews of the meet HERE (men's coach Steve Plasencia) and HERE (women's coach Matt Bingle.)

Team USA Minn. at Jack Johnson ... Three Team USA Minnesota distance runners – Matt Gabrielson, Meghan Armstrong and Jamie Cheever – will race the 3000-meter distance at the meet. All three are using the indoor track meet as a final tune-up before they compete at the USA Cross Country Championships in San Diego on February 5.

Gabrielson most recently placed 18th at the Bupa Great Edinburgh Men’s Cross Country Team Challenge in Scotland on January 8. Armstrong’s recently finished 7th in the Bay Area Cross Challenge in San Francisco on January 16. Last Saturday. Cheever ran a 4:47.87 to win the women’s mile race at the Minnesota Open.

St. Olaf Indoor Marathon Makes the WSJ

The Wall Street Journal ran a feature on the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon on St. Olaf's indoor track yesterday. Complete with a video. You can see it HERE.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Place, Delgado, Olson Honored by USATF-Minn.

The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field announced yesterday that Morgan Place, Jesse Delgado, and Connor Olson are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for January 2011.

Place, a junior at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, was recognized for her 5th place finish at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships held in Louisville, Kentucky in December. Place ran the 6-kilometer race in 21:14, making her third-straight finish in the top-10 at the meet.

Delgado and Olson were recognized for runner-up finishes in their respective divisions of the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Hoover, Alabama last month.

Delgado, a Waseca resident, ran 10:17 in the 3-kilometer Midget Boys race for 11 and 12-year-olds. Olson, of Maple Grove, ran the 4-kilometer Youth Boys race for 13 and 14-year-olds in 13:02.

USA Track & Field Minnesota selects Athletes of the Month to honor excellence in track and field and its related sports in Minnesota. USA Track & Field is the governing body of the sport in the United States and the Minnesota Association of USATF sanctions and sponsors track and field, cross country, road racing, and racewalking events for athletes of all ages in the state.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hegerle Named Big Ten Athlete of the Week

University of Minnesota thrower Micah Hegerle was named the Big Ten's Field Event Athlete of the Week after winning the weight throw at the Minnesota Open on Saturday.

The Kasson-Mantorville alumnus marked a career-best 66-2 1/4, the fifth-best throw in Gopher history.

The Big Ten weekly award is the second of the sophomore's University of Minnesota career.

Photo of Hegerle by Becky Miller.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Team USA Minnesota Adds Jamie Cheever

Jamie Cheever, the former Minneapolis Southwest and University of Minnesota star, is Team USA Minnesota's newest member.

The elite long distance training center announced the addition of the three-time All-American yesterday.

Cheever earned All-American distinction three times as a Gopher: she was a member of the school's 3rd-place NCAA DMR in 2006, finished 33rd at the 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships, and was 11th in the NCAA 3000m steeplechase in 2008.

Cheever, who played soccer for the Gophers her freshman year, also held the second fastest times at Minnesota in the 800-meters (indoor and outdoor), steeplechase, and 6K cross country. Cheever ran track her freshman year and became a full-time runner in both cross country and track her sophomore year. Cheever graduated from the U of M in December 2009 with a double major in sociology and family social services.

Cheever kicked off her professional career over the weekend, winning the mile in 4:47.87 at the Minnesota Open. She will compete next at the Jack Johnson Classic meet at the U of M on Saturday, where she will run the 3000 meters.

Cheever is preparing to compete at the USA Cross Country Championships in San Diego on Feb. 5.

MEADP Supports Three Team USA Athletes ... Three Team USA Minnesota athletes -- Meghan Armstrong, Chris Rombough and Emily Brown -- have earned grants from the Minnesota Elite Athlete Development Program for 2011.

The awards were announced last weekend at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Distance Running Association. Armstrong and Rombough each received a grant of $1000, and Brown was awarded $750.

The Minnesota Elite Athlete Development Program provides financial assistance to elite Minnesota distance runners who have completed their collegiate running careers. It is funded by contributions from Grandma's Marathon, Twin Cities In Motion, and the Minnesota Distance Running Association.

Photo courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekend Racing Wrap-Up

Lots of Minnesotans were in action over the weekend. Here's our wrap-up of the action ...

Goucher Runner-Up in Return ... Kara Goucher finished second at the Rock n Roll Arizona Half Marathon on Sunday in her first race after giving birth to her son Colton. The Duluth native ran 1:14:02; Mexico's Madai Perez won the race in 1:11:48.

The Duluth News-Tribune's Kevin Pates has the full story HERE.

Armstrong 7th in Bay Area Cross ... Team USA Minnesota's Meghan Armstrong finished 7th at the Bay Area Cross Challenge, held in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on Sunday. Armstrong, who is preparing for the USA Cross Country Championships next month, ran 20:26 over the 6k course.

American 5000-meter record-holder Molly Huddle won the race in 19:19. Find complete results HERE.

Okoroji a Double Winner for Gophers ... Chimerem Okoroji sprinted to a pair of wins at the Minnesota Open on Saturday. The Gopher junior clocked a PR 7.51 in the 60-meter dash -- good for #4 all-time at the U of M -- and 25.13 for 200m.

In all, the Gopher women won six events at the meet. Find a wrap-up HERE and full results HERE.

Hegerle paces Gopher Men ... Micah Hegerle won the weight throw in a PR 66-2 1/4 to pace the University of Minnesota men's track team to a 10-victory showing at the Minnesota Open. The Kasson-Mantorville alum's mark was the #5 weight throw in Gopher history.

Find a meet wrap-up HERE and full results HERE.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hall of Fame Inductee: Merrill Fischbein

Editor's Note: Here's the fourth installment in our profile series of the 2010 Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame inductees.

Merrill Fischbein

Since 1967, while the name of the governing body of the sport changed from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), The Athletics Congress (TAC), to USA Track & Field, Merrill Fischbein has served as a master official for athletes of all ages and abilities.

For the last thirty years, Fischbein (pictured) has served as the Chair of Officials' Certification in Minnesota, overseeing the training and evaluation of the state's track and field umpires, judges, referees, and starters.

Over the years, Fischbein has held many board and chairmanship positions with USA Track and Field Minnesota, including serving as USATF-Minnesota president from 1994-1998.

Fischebein has coordinated and supervised officials for the University of Minnesota track and field program since 1985. He's been a Minnesota State High School League official for 37 years, in many of those yeas serving as head starter at the State Meet.

Beginning in 1992, Fischbein has served as the Coordinator of the International Special Olympics, helping to create a memorable experience for athletes and participants in that program.

Fischbein was inducted into the Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame in the administrator and coach category

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Favor-Hamilton, Winckler Key Coaches' Clinic

Three-time Olympian Suzy Favor-Hamilton and three-time NCAA Coach of the Year Gary Winckler will headline the revamped Minnesota Track & Field Coaches Association Clinic set for Friday and Saturday, January 28-29 at the Bloomington Sheraton Convention Center.

Favor-Hamilton, a Stevens Point, Wisconsin native who raced to nine NCAA middle distance titles for the University of Wisconsin, will discuss motivation at a clinic session, make the keynote address to the Minnesota State Track and Field Coaches' Association meeting and banquet, and lead a fun run during the weekend.

Winckler, who has mentored 13 Olympians and coached USA teams at the IAAF World Indoor and World Outdoor Championships, will give four separate talks on hurdling and sprinting during the clinic.

More than three-dozen coaches and athletes will offer their insights at the clinic, including Olympic shot putter Ron Backes, University of Minnesota men's throws coach Lynden Reder, and U.S. Military Academy coach Troy Engle.

General information on the coaching clinic can be found HERE.

A roster of speakers and their biographies can be found HERE.

A clinic schedule is HERE.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gabrielson Switches to USA Cross Championships

Happy with his race last Saturday at the Bupa Great Edinburgh International cross country race, Team USA Minnesota's Matt Gabrielson has decided to compete at the USA Cross Country Championships on February 5 in San Diego, rather than the USA Half Marathon Championships a week earlier in Houston.

Gabrielson announced the decision is THIS Team USA Minnesota media release.

The Drake University alumnus finished in 18th place in the men's 8.2K in Scotland, helping the USA team to a runner-up finish in team competition.

"I was very pleased with my race, Gabrielson said. "While it wasn't a total peak performance, based on how I felt, not getting any side stitches for the first time in a long while in a race and my positive competitive mindset, I would say it was the best start to a year of racing that I have had in a long, long time. I was very fired up for the coming year afterwards."

Gabrielson original plan was to compete in the USA Half Marathon Championships on January 29.

By competing at the USA Cross Country Championships instead, Gabrielson hopes to qualify for the fourth IAAF World Cross Country Championships in his career. Gabrielson made the USA team in 2006, 2006, and 2007.

In 2010, with the two events a month apart, Gabrielson finished ninth at the USA Half Marathon in a personal best 1:03:43 and 10th at USA Cross Country.

"I have never had a great race in the three times I have represented the U.S. at World Cross," Gabrielson said. "My career is nearing the end, and it would be wonderful if I could have one more shot at a top-40 finish or even better at this event."

"I had such a fantastic time last weekend and felt very happy with my result, so I just want to run another cross country event rather than 13.1 miles at this point," he added. "That was the first thing that crossed my mind when I finished in Edinburgh."

McGregor Headlines USA Half ... 2010 USA Running Circuit champion Katie McGregor will compete at the USA Half Marathon in Houston, race organizers announced earlier this week.

McGregor, who won three USA Championships on the roads last year, will face Olympians Jen Rhines and Magdalene Lewy Boulet and 2010 USA Half runner-up Serena Burla at the event.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hall of Fame Inductee: Tom Heinonen

Editor's Note: Here's our third installment in our profile series of the 2010 Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame inductees.

Tom Heinonen

A graduate of Robbinsdale High School, Tom Heinonen first showed his athletic talent by finishing 5th at the MSHSL Cross Country State Meet and runner-up in the State mile. After graduation, he became a member of Roy Griak's first recruiting class at the University of Minnesota in 1963.

As a Gopher, Heinonen was a member of the 1964 Big Ten champion cross country team, finishing fourth individually. Before his U of M career was over, Heinonen would win a Big Ten title at three-miles and earn All-American distinction at three-miles and six-miles.

Heinonen continued racing after college, clocking the fastest marathon time by an American in 1968 (2:18:30), representing the USA at the World Cross Country Championships the same year, and winning the 1969 AAU Marathon title.

Heinonen made his deepest mark in the sport as coach of the University of Oregon women's cross country and track program from 1975 until 2002. His teams won two NCAA cross country titles (1983 and 1987) and an NCAA outdoor track crown (1985).

At Oregon, Heinonen coached NCAA champions and collegiate record-holders at every distance from 800-meters to 10,000-meters. He coached Annette Peters in college and beyond, leading her to an NCAA 5000m title in 1988, a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in 1992, and an American Record in the 5000m in 1993, when she became the first American woman to break 15:00.

Heinonen retired from the University of Oregon in 2003, but now volunteers as coach of the UO Running Club, a student-organized club team on campus.

Photo by Charlie Mahler.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vaulters Headline Gopher Home Opener

Gopher pole vault stars Ben Peterson and Samantha Sonnenberg headlined action at the University of Minnesota's home opening Northwest Open on Saturday.

Peterson, the defending Big Ten indoor champion in the event -- and the 2008 winner as well -- cleared 16-8 3/4 to open his season. Peterson was one of seven Gopher men to win events at the meet.

There's a round-up of the men's meet, HERE, at Find men's results HERE.

Sonnenberg, the Big Ten runner-up last year and an NCAA All-American, cleared 13-3 1/2 to better former teammate Alicia Rue who cleared 13-1 1/2.

A round-up of the women's meet is HERE. Find women's results HERE.

Find photos from the meet, HERE, at Becky Miller's Gopher Track Shots web-page.

Photo of Becca Pilkerton by Becky Miller/

Friday, January 07, 2011

Gopher Men #16 in NCAA Indoor Rankings

The University of Minnesota men's track and field team is ranked #16 in the NCAA Division I preseason indoor poll released yesterday.

The defending Big Ten indoor and outdoor champions find themselves ranked behind #8 Penn State and #10 Indiana, among conference teams, however.

Florida tops the rankings, followed by LSU and Texas A&M.

The Gopher women are ranked #45 in the women's rankings. Penn State leads Big Ten teams at #19.

Oregon tops the women's rankings, followed by Texas A&M and LSU.

Find complete rankings HERE.

Gabrielson to Represent USA in Edinburgh

Team USA Minnesota's Matt Gabrielson will compete as a member of the USA men's team at tomorrow's Bupa Great Edinburgh International Cross Country meet in Scotland.

The IAAF web-site has a preview of the meet HERE. American Track and Field has its preview of the event HERE.

Gabrielson has represented the USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on three occasions -- in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Last February, he placed 10th at the USA Cross Country Championships in Spokane.

Gabrielson also was a member of the USA team at the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Championships where he competed in the marathon.

Vega Out, Moen In ... Correcting a post we published earlier this week, Team USA Minnesota's Pat Goodwin informed us that 2010 USA Running Circuit champion Antonio Vega will not defend his USA Half Marathon title in Houston later this month. The University of Minnesota alumnus is still recovering from November hernia surgery.

Teammate Josh Moen, however, the 2009 USA 10 Mile runner-up, will join Gabrielson and Team USA Minnesota's Jason Lehmkuhle at the race.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Hall of Fame Inductee: Larry Russ

Editor's Note: Here's our second installment in our profile series of the 2010 Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame inductees.

Larry Russ

Larry Russ was hired to coach cross country and track and field at the College of St. Thomas in 1969. The practicing chiropractor had only limited coaching experience at the time, but soon built the St. Thomas program into an MIAC and NCAA Division III power.

Russ' 1974 team won the school's first MIAC harrier title in 29 years. Shortly thereafter, the Tommies won three-straight MIAC titles from 1978 to 1980, and then rattled off 10-straight conference victories under Russ from 1984 until 1993.

Russ' teams won two Division III cross country titles -- in 1984 and 1986 -- and found themselves in the D3 top-7 eleven times from 1978 until 1992. Russ' teams got to the national championships in 17 of his 18 years as coach.

Russ coached 23 All-Americans during his St. Thomas tenure, including 1982 Division III cross country champion Nic Manciu.

Russ served as the St. Thomas track coach from 1969 until 1990.

Photo of Larry Russ by Charlie Mahler.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Minnesotans Eying USA Half Marathon

It looks like there will again be a large and important Minnesota presence at the USA Half Marathon Championships hosted later this month by the organizers of the Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

Six Minnesota men, including defending USA Half Marathon champion Antonio Vega are signed up for the event, according to USA Track and Field's "Status of Entries" web-page for the event, HERE.

Surprisingly, no elite Minnesota women are currently listed in the entry rolls.

Preparing to join Vega on the starting line are Team USA Minnesota teammates Jason Lehmkuhle, the runner-up at the 2008 USA Half Marathon, and Matt Gabrielson, Olympic Trials marathoner Donovan Fellows, former St. John's University All-American Chris Erichsen, and recent Bethel Univeristy alum and All-American Dan Greeno.

Other notables in the race include 2010 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon champ Sergio Reyes and former Team USA Minnesota athlete Patrick Smyth, who finished second to Vega last year.

Result of last year's USA Half Marathon can be found HERE. This year's race is scheduled for Saturday, January 29.

In 2012, Houston will host the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for men and women.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Hall of Fame Inductee: Bill Huyck

[Editor's Note: Here, finally, is the first of six profiles of the most recent inductees to the Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame. We'll kick things off with former Carleton College coach Bill Huyck (pictured). We'll post profiles of the rest of the Hall's 2010 inductees in the next two weeks.

The story we wrote on the Hall of Fame ceremony last November is HERE.]

Bill Huyck

Bill Huyck, one of three coaches inducted to the Minnesota Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2010, is a 1953 graduate of Carleton College who returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach after four years in naval aviation. By 1958, he was the Northfield school's head track coach.

In his tenure as head coach at Carleton, which lasted until 1984 when he became the athletic director at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, he lead the Knights to 12 Midwest Conference indoor and outdoor track titles and another dozen cross country crowns.

His 1980 Carleton cross country squad won the NCAA Division III title -- one of eight Huyck-coached harrier squads to finish in the top-10 at D3.

Notable individual athletes that had the honor of Huyck's tutelage include miler Mike Steiner, the fastest college division miler in the NCAA in 1969; Dale Kramer, a four-time Division III champion at 5000-meters and cross country; and Rick Bollin, a two-time D3 runner-up in the decathlon.

Huyck was a frequent contributor to track and field technical journals. He also served as the chairman of the NCAA Division III Track Committee, as well as president of the D3 cross country coaches association.

Huyck continues to coach javelin throwers at Carleton.

Photo by Charlie Mahler.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Lehmkuhle, Nicolini Close 2010 in NYC

Team USA Minnesota's Kristen Nicolini and Jason Lehmkuhle sneaked one last race into their 2010 seasons, participating in the Emerald Nuts Midnight run in New York City on New Year's Eve.

The married couple finished 5th and 7th, respectively in the 4-mile race through Central Park hosted by the New York Road Runners.

Nicolini ran 22:01 for the distance in the women's division won by Desiree Davila. Lehmkuhle ran 18:50 in men's competition. Stephen Furst won that division in 18:11.

Complete results of the race race be found HERE.