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Minnesota Track and Field: Gophers Sending Six Men and Six Women to NCAA Indoor Championships

Will Minnesota bring home some hardware?

Karlie Place will be one of twelve Gophers competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend.
gophersports.com (Becky Miller)

Both the Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s and women’s track and field teams will be sending six members to the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to be held at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M this weekend. While neither team will be threats in the team portion of the competition, both teams have athletes who could place in their respective events.

The 11th ranked women’s Gopher track and field team will send six athletes, all in the field portion of the competition. Three weight throwers will make making their NCAA Indoor meet debuts. Senior Kaitlyn Long has the second furthest throw in the nation this season at 24.37 meters. The transfer from Winona State already has two Division II national championships in the event. Senior Agnes Esser is ranked ninth in the event with a long throw of 21.67 meters. Joining them will be junior Nakoya Clunis who ranks #11 in the nation with a throw of 21.48 meters that she set at the Big Ten Championships.

Kiley Sabin earned Second Team All-American honors in the shot put last season as a sophomore by finishing in 15th place. She returns to the championships this season as a junior and is ranked 15th in the nation with a throw of 16.96 meters.

Junior Ayesha Champaignie will compete in the long jump at the NCAA Championships. She comes in with the third longest jump this season in the nation at 6.56 meters. She also has extensive championship experience at a lower level. Champaignie won six National Junior College Athletic Association Championships in her two years at Barton Community College—two each in the pentathlon, heptathlon, and javelin.

Senior Karlie Place will compete in the pole vault. The transfer from UW-Milwaukee has the 16th highest jump in the nation this season at 4.28 meters.

On the men’s side, the Gophers will send the members of their 4x400 relay team, a heptathlete, and a high jumper.

The Gopher 4x400 relay team of Jonathan Webb, Matthew Baker, Ben Psicihulis and Jackson Wellenstein earned their spot to the NCAA meet by running the 11th fastest time in the nation (3:05.52) at the Big Ten Championships. It was the second fastest time in Gopher history. Wellenstein returns to the NCAA meet after earning Second Team All-America honors last year as part of Minnesota’s distance medley relay squad, and it will be the first trip for Webb, Baker and Psicihulis. The future is bright as Psicihulis is a freshman, Webb and Baker and redshirt sophomores, and Wellenstein is a junior.

Teddy Freid will compete in the heptathlon. The seven event competetion consists of the 60 meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 meter hurdles, pole vault, and 1,000 meter run. Frid earned his NCAA debut with a persponal record score of 5,680 points earned at the Big Ten Championships last weekend. His score ranks 12th in the nation this season and is the 4th highest score in Gopher history. He was a two time Division II All-American at the University of Sioux Falls prior to transferring to Minnesota.

Ryan Lockhard will compete in the high jump for the Gophers. The redshirt senior was a Second Team All-American in the high jump at the indoor NCAA Championships in 2016 after finishing 10th. His jump of 2.21 meters ties him for the 13th highest jump in the nation this season, and is tired for the third highest jump in Gopher history.

The Women’s shot put will take place at 5:15 PM on Friday and long jump taking place at 7:10 PM Friday. The pole vault will take place at 4:00 on Saturday and the weight throw will take place at 4:30 PM. The men’s high jump will take place at 3:00 on Saturday, the pentathlon will take place both Friday and Saturday with the final event the 1,000 meters beginning at 4:00 on Saturday, and the 4x400 relay will be the final men’s event of the meet at 6:40 PM Saturday. ESPN3 will stream the meet live starting at 5:30 Friday and 4:00 Saturday. A re-air of the championship will take place at 6 PM Sunday on ESPN2.