The Gophers hope to win a Big Ten title this weekend in the Big Ten track and field championships at the University of Wisconsin.
"It is real equal at the top," Gophers coach Steve Plasencia said. "We were second indoors and lost by four points. And Nebraska was third but only because they had a guy pull a hamstring."
Indiana won the conference indoors meet with 104, the Gophers had 100 and the Cornhuskers 99.
"So it is real [tight] at the top. Wisconsin, Indiana, Nebraska and maybe Iowa. It is a pretty even conference," Plasencia said.
A year ago, the Gophers finished second outdoors in the conference meet, losing by 2.5 points to host Iowa.
Because the Big Ten meet is at Wisconsin, what is it worth to the Badgers this year? "Generally what coaches say is, maybe 10 points or so," Plasencia said. "It is real nice to have it at home."
Are there any events the Gophers could win?
"The 400 meters, the 800 meter, 5,000 meters, the hammer throw," Plasencia said. "We got some guys who could be champions."
The Gophers got their first champion early. On Friday, junior Quentin Mege from Chelles, France, repeated as champion in the hammer throw. He threw it 220 feet, 1 inch on his third attempt. Last year he won the event with a throw of 207-8.
Mege's personal best until Friday was 215-0. The school record had been 215-9, set in 2004 by Gophers assistant coach Lynden Reder who recruited Mege.
"Lynden found him," Plasencia said. It was like an Internet thing. He is a dynamite student. He is an engineering guy who is taking graduate work here and it is too easy for him."
Five squads appear in the latest USTFCCCA National Rankings: Indiana is No. 8, Wisconsin No. 15, Nebraska No. 17, Iowa No. 21 and the Gophers No. 25.
BTN will air tape-delay coverage of the Big Ten Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships at 11 a.m.on Sunday, May 20.
Here are three events the Gophers could score a lot of points in:
4x100 relay: The Gophers are the fourth seed (40.26).
5K: Hassan Mead of Gophers is defending champion in 10K.
pole vault: Jack Szmanda is seeded second (17-4-1/2). He is also the top seed in the decathlon.