The Minnesota Gophers sent four athletes to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships this past weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico. All four are coming home with All-American Honors. Shelby Frank, Nyalaam Jok, Amira Young, and Akailah Lewis all impressed at the NCAA Championships and can come back to Minneapolis proud.
The Gophers were led in New Mexico by Shelby Frank in the weight throw. She had the second best throw in the nation headed into the Championships and thats where she would finish as the National Runner-up.
Frank had to watch and wait to see if she would make the finals after a subpar for her opening three throws. Her first throw would be 22.27m which initially put her in fifth place after her heat of athletes. A foul on her second and a shorter throw on her third attempt left her waiting to see how the rest of the field would fare. To advance to the finals she would need to be top 8 or higher and after all the athletes had their opening three throws, Frank remained in 7th place and would get a final three throws.
Her fourth throw was another foul and time was running out, but Frank connected on her fifth attempt and launched the weight 23.42m, which put her into second place where she would remain for the rest of the meet!
THE THROW @shelby_frank’s 23.42m (76-10) is the #Gophers highest weight throw NCAA finish (2nd) in the event since 2018! #ncaaTF pic.twitter.com/Vvq0weIiDA— Minnesota Cross Country, Track & Field (@GopherCCTF) March 11, 2023
. - !@shelby_frank with a MASSIVE fifth throw to make a huge splash in her indoor championships debut for the #Gophers! #ncaaTF pic.twitter.com/tESNz6COp2— Minnesota Cross Country, Track & Field (@GopherCCTF) March 11, 2023
The next best finish for the Gophers was from Jok in the high jump. She got off to a good start easily clearing 1.72 m, 1.77 m, and 1.82m on her first attempts at each height. It took a pair of attempts but she then cleared 1.85m to move into a tie for fourth place with just seven competitors remaining in the competition.
An All-American leap #ncaaTF https://t.co/ZDX4s67Lgr pic.twitter.com/gzI2RnUwCW— Minnesota Cross Country, Track & Field (@GopherCCTF) March 11, 2023
She attempted to set a new career high mark at 1.88m, but could not clear it in her three attempts and would finish in 6th place earning First Team All-American honors. She is the first Gopher in program history to earn that honor.
Friday afternoon the Gophers had a pair of athletes in Young and Lewis compete in the semifinals of the 60m dash. Both ran great times but would not qualify for the final. Young would finish in a time of 7.21 seconds good enough for 11th place while Lewis ran in a time of 7.26 which was good enough for 14th place. Both would earn Second Team All-American honors for finishing in the top 16.
A look at how @amiraaa_y and @speedysmiley finished as Second Team All-Americans at the #ncaaTF Indoor Championships! pic.twitter.com/cGg8u60hnq— Minnesota Cross Country, Track & Field (@GopherCCTF) March 10, 2023
With their pair of podium finishes, the Gophers would record 11 team points to finish in 18th place. It would be the second highest finish for the Gophers as a team in the past 13 seasons.
The four Gophers now turn their sights to the outdoor track and field season which will see the final competitions of Young’s Minnesota career. Congrats to these Minnesota athletes!