The #10 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s track and field teams won the Big Ten Championships this past weekend. The Gophers are now both the indoor and outdoor Big Ten Champions in the same season for the first time in school history. Minnesota would score 134 points, two more than the runner up Purdue. The Gophers scored team points in fifteen of the twenty-one possible events and were anchored by two individual Big Ten Champions.
The Gophers gained both their individual champions in their events on Friday. Temi Ogunrinde won the hammer throw for the second consecutive year with a throw of 66.97 meters or 219’ 8” to win the title. The Gophers also finished in third and fourth place in the hammer throw with Agnes Esser throwing 61.70 meters, 202’ 5” and Nayoka Clunis throwing 61.22 meters 200’10”.
The second individual champion was also a repeat, but from 2016. Nicole Murphy won here second career Big Ten Championship in the javelin. Murphy threw 54.99 meters or 180’ 5” to claim her title back.
The Gophers would add a third place performance and a career best from Lexi Kiefer in the pole vault , a fourth place finish from Megan Hasz in the 10,000 meter run, a fifth place finish by Karlie Place in the pole vault and an eighth place finish from Ayesha Champagnie in the javelin to give the Gophers 47 points after day one.
On Saturday the Gophers would add three second place finishes to their standings. Kiley Sabin would finish second in the shot put with a throw of 16.60 meters or 54’ 5.5”. Madeline Strandemo would take home second place in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 10:01.69. In the high jump, the Gophers would finish second and third. Ashley Ramacher and Heta Tuuri each cleared a career-best 1.82 meters 5’ 11.5” to finish second and third, respectively. Ramacher cleared 1.82m on her first attempt to secure second place while it took Tuuri three tries to make the height giving her third place. Their jumps now tie them for third place all-time in Gopher history.
Champagnie would finish in third place in the heptathlon with a career-best score of 5,821 points. She would win the heptathlon javelin throw and finish in the top-8 in several other events. Nayoka Clunis finished seventh in the shot put with a throw of 15.92 meters 52’ 2.75” The Gophers would have 85 points after Day 2 and remain in the lead.
Day 3 saw the competition get much tighter. The Gophers would add two additional second place finishes. The 4x100 relay team of of Rachel Schow, Titania Markland, Emma Spagnola, and Emerald Egwim ran a Minnesota program record time of 44.22 seconds to finish in second place. The Gophers also got a runner up finish out of Shanique Wright in the triple jump. Wright would jump 12.99 meters or 42’ 7.5”.
The Gophers also got two additional third place finishes from Spagnola. She would run 13.29 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles and would crush her own school record in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 56.79 seconds. Schow would finish in fifth place in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 57.71 seconds and 8th in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 13.87 seconds. Strandemo would add a seventh-place finish in the 1,500 meter run with a time of 4:32.13 as well.
The Gophers held a 129-122 lead over Purdue with just two events remaining in the 5,000 meter run and a 4x400 relay. Twins Bethany and Megan Hasz would ice the meet for the Gophers in the 5,000 meters. Bethany would place fifth in 16:47.61 and Megan took eighth in 16:54.28. Those finishes would put the Gophers 12 points up on the Boilermakers with only one event left. Purdue would win the 4x400 relay, but it could not catch the Gophers.
The Big Ten outdoor Championship was the second in three seasons for Minnesota as they shared the 2016 title with Michigan. Their most recent sole possession title came in 2006. The Gophers also defeated Purdue to win the Indoor Big ten Championships back in February. Minnesota previously won the indoor title in three straight seasons from 2007-2009.
Minnesota will now await to hear which athletes have qualified for the NCAA West Prelims that will take place in Sacramento, California from May 24rd to the 26th.