The Minnesota Gophers indoor track and field teams failed in their berth to three-peat at the Big Ten Indoor Championships last weekend in Ohio. The Gophers would finish in fourth place as a team after the loss to graduation of some of their star athletes from the previous two seasons. But, the Gophers are still loaded with some special athletes and it showed as Minnesota brought home three individual Big Ten Championships on the weekend.
Friday it was Gopher junior thrower Shelby Frank stealing the show. The Grand Forks, ND native won the weight throw for the Gophers. It was the fifth time a Minnesota athlete has brought home the crown. Frank launched her winning throw on her third attempt. She threw 24.14m (79-2 1/2’) which was the best throw in the nation this season by a centimeter until Ole Miss’s Jalani David rebroke the mark at the SEC Championships on Saturday.
SHELBY FRANK WITH THE No. 1 WEIGHT THROW MARK IN THE NATION! #ncaaTF— Minnesota Cross Country, Track & Field (@GopherCCTF) February 25, 2023
The Grand Forks, N.D. native catapults into first with a lifetime best 24.14m (79-2 1/2) in the weight throw! And she still has three throws remaining! @shelby_frank pic.twitter.com/ud3bfI951x
Saturday the spotlight belonged to Gophers grad student Amirya Young. For the second time in her career Young won both the 60m dash and the 200m bring home double gold to Minneapolis. The 60 meter race was even more special as it was a dual between Young and her teammate Akilah Lewis for first and second place. Lewis jumped out to an early lead but Young surged at the end to earn the victory by one one-hundredth of a second with a time of 7.18 to Lewis’s 7.19. The 7.18 time breaks Young’s own Big Ten record which she set a few weeks ago at the Windy City Classic.
A PHOTO FINISH FOR THE @BIGTEN CONFERENCE RECORD!— Minnesota Cross Country, Track & Field (@GopherCCTF) February 25, 2023
The #Gophers go 1-2 in the 60m final with @amiraaa_y & @speedysmiley at the indoor conference championships! #ncaaTF pic.twitter.com/IHWR2DmLr4
About two hours later Young did it again in the 200 meters. She had to beat a time of 23.37 in the two heat final and did so hitting 23.31 for the best time in the conference this season and the gold medal.
THAT'S BIG TEN STRENGTH! @amiraaa_y wins the 60m/200m double for the second time in her career! #ncaaTF pic.twitter.com/m2nA7ypjhp— Minnesota Cross Country, Track & Field (@GopherCCTF) February 25, 2023
The Gophers earned several other additional podium finishes including a silver medal finish by Abigail Schaaffe in the 600 meters, bronze medal finishes in the high jump by Nyalaam Jok, and in the 4x400 meter relay team, a fourth place finish in the 800 meters by Erin Reidy, fifth place finish's in the pole vault by Alexys Berger, 60 meter hurdles by Maja Maunsbach, and 400 meters by Janielle Josephs, and eighth place finishes in the long jump by Alliyah McNeil, 60 meter hurdles by Zariyah Black and the distance medley relay.
Next up for a few members of the team will be the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico from March 10th and 11th. The official list of qualifiers will be released later this week but it appears that both Young and Lewis should qualify in the 60 meters, Frank in the weight throw and Jok in the high jump.
The rest of the team will head to Austin, Texas for the first outdoor meet of the season this weekend.