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Gopher Sports: Awards? We Got Awards!

The Gophers took home several season ending honors this week!

As the winter sports seasons come to an end, it becomes “Awards Season” Just like in the movie business, as teams end their regular seasons or compete in championships, awards are given out. This week a few members of the Gophers cleaned up! Lets catch you up:

To the Winners go the Spoils on the Track!

Fresh off of their Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championship last weekend several members of the Gopher women’s Indoor Track team were given some awards this week. Junior Gopher sprinter Amira Young who won both the 60 meters and 200 meters and the Big Ten Championships was named Big Ten Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Championships. She is the first Gopher to get the award since Heather Dorniden in 2009. Young was also one of nine entries awarded this week with invites to the NCAA Indoor track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas next weekend. She will be headed to Arkansas to run in both the 60 meters and the 200 meters and will be joined by Bethany Hasz who will run the 5,000 meters, The Gophers 4x400 relay team of Jayla Campbell, Janielle Josephs, Val Larson and Abigail Schaffe, Tess Keyzers in the weight throw, Allison Gerands in the pentathlon, Alex Basten in the Men’s 3,000 and 5,000 meters and Kaleb Siekmeier in the men’s weight throw.

Hasz also earned an award this week when she was named the Midwest Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Hasz won the 3,000 meters at the Big Ten Championships and also won the Big Ten Cross Country meet back in January. She will run the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Championships.

The Gopher coaching staff also picked up several awards this week. Matt Bingle who is the Women’s track and field coach was named the 2021 Big Ten Conference Indoor Track & Field Women’s Coach of the Year on Wednesday, and then on Thursday was named the Midwest Region Women’s Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. It was the fifth time Bingle was honored by the USTFCCCA after also being named the Midwest region Coach of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2018—the other four times the Gophers have won the Big Ten title. Also being honored by the USTFCCCA was Gopher distance running assistant coach Sarah Hopkins who was named Midwest Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

These Awards are on Ice!

The Gopher women’s hockey team also picked up some season end honors from the WCHA when they announced their 2020-21 season awards on Wednesday. A total of five Gophers earned All-WCHA honors on Wednesday headlines by All-WCHA First Team member Grace Zumwinkle. Zumwinkle leads the WCHA and the nation in goals this season and is one of the ten finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award given to the best player in women’s college hockey. She was also named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Month for February earlier this week.

Senior defense Emily Brown was named to the All-WCHA Second team, and fellow blue-liner Madeline Wethington was named to the Third team.

The Gophers had a pair of players on the All-WCHA Rookie team. Both Abbey Murphy and Josey Dunne earned those honors.

No Gophers were awarded any season end individual honors when they were announced on Thursday by the WCHA, The Gopher women are back in action in the WCHA Final Faceoff semifinals against Wisconsin Saturday afternoon at 1PM.

Kicking it Old School!

It is the 70th Anniversary of the WCHA as a hockey conference this season and to look back on it’s illustrious history they have been naming an All-WCHA team, coach and player of the decade going back to the 1950’s this season. This week the conference announced their All-WCHA team, Coach and Player of the 2000’s, and it was a maroon and gold affair. A pair of Gophers were named to the All-2000’s team on Tuesday including forward Johnny Pohl and defenseman Jordan Leopold.

Then Thursday the honors kept coming for the Gophers as former coach Don Lucia was named the WCHA Coach of the 2000’s.

Finally on Thursday Leopold was honored with the Player of the 2000’s award.

This was by far the most prolific decade thus far for Minnesota. Previous honorees have included Minnesota all-time leading scorer John Mayasich and Ken Yackel on the 1950’s team with Mayasich earning the Player of the Decade honors, Lou Nanne on the 1960’s team, Herb Brooks was named the Coach of the 1970’s, Gophers second all-time leading scorer Pat Micheletti on the 1980’s team, and a pair of honorees in Mike Crowley and Brian Bonin on the 1990’s Team with Crowley earning Player of the 1990’s honors.

The 2010’s team will be announced in the next 2 weeks with potential Gopher names of Kyle Rau, Nick Bjugstad and Adam Wilcox in the mix.