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Minnesota Track and Field: Gopher Men and Women Finish in Third Place at Big Ten Championships

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The Gophers added seven individual event Big Ten Champions!

Kion Benjamin is a Big Ten Champion!
Craig Lassig—Gophersports.com

Both the Minnesota Golden Gophers mens and women’s track and field teams brought home third place finishes at the Big Ten Championships this weekend. Minnesota won seven individual event Big Ten Championships over the three day competition as well!

Minnesota kicked off action on Friday by winning a pair of individual event championships. Kostas Zaltos got the Gopher men off to a great start by winning the hammer throw with a career best toss of 69.98 meters. now the second best throw in program history. The Gophers added two more point scoring performances in the event with Phillipe Barnett in fourth place and Kaleb Siekmeier in seventh. Bethany Hasz continued her amazing 2021 by adding an outdoor Big Ten title to her pile of hardware in the indoor events. Hasz won the women’s 10,000 meter run in her first ever time competing in the event in a time of 33:30.04. Tess Keyzers added a second place finish in the women’s hammer throw with a career best throw of 65.76 meters as well.

Saturday was the steeplechase show for the Gophers. Minnesota would take home wins in both the men’s and women’s 3,000 meter steeple chase with Alec Basten running a career-best time and the third fastest time in the country this season of 8:33.79 to take home the men’s crown. Abby Kohut-Jackson would immediately follow that up with a Gopher women’s program record time of 9:47.51 to win her own championship. Siekmeier would add a runner-up finish of his own in the men’s discus with a throw of 57.96m.

On Sunday it would be three more individual titles for the Gophers, but just not enough high finishes to propel them any higher than third place in the team standings. Kion Benjamin became just the second Gopher man to win the Big Ten 100 meter title when he won the race in a time of 10.26 seconds. He would add a second place finish in the men’s 200 meters breaking the school record with a time of 20.62 seconds. The Gophers also got a fifth place finish in the 400-meter hurdles from Noah Burton—Willie Burton’s son. Burton also ran one leg of the men’s 4x400 relay team with would finish fourth to clinch the Gophers third place team finish—the best for the Gopher men since 2013.

On the women’s side it was Abigail Schaaffe winning the women’s 400-meter hurdles in a career-best 57.25 seconds. It is the second best time in Minnesota program history. to move into second in Minnesota history. She earned her second title of the day when she anchored the Gophers women’s 4x400 relay to a championship in a time of 3.33.44. The Gopher women got a pair of runner-up finishes on Sunday. Hasz couldn’t quite make it two titles in a row and she finished in second place in the 5,000 meters. The Gophers also took home second place in the women’s 4x100 meter relay in a time of 44.55 seconds. Amira Young helped the Gophers to that finish, but she would finish in fourth in both the 100 and 200 meters events that she swept titles in in the indoor championships.

The Gophers will find out later this week who all qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary qualifier held at Texas A&M from May 26 to May 29th.