Gophers in Oregon
The Gophers men’s track and field team saw two of its best hammer throwers compete in their final collegiate event this weekend when Micah Hegerle and Quentin Mege threw at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Eugene, Ore. Hegerle finished sixth to earn All-America status after taking seventh last year, while Mege finished 13th.
Those aren’t the only Gophers competing.
“Harun [Abda] is in the top three in the country [at the 800 meters] and so is Quentin [at the hammer throw],” said Gophers coach Steve Plasencia.
“We might not have anybody else who can compete for an individual title, but we have some guys who can get All-American status and finish in the top eight. Travis Burkstrand in the 800 has a shot at doing that. Our 4x relay team has a shot at doing that.”
Abda and Burkstrand both advanced to the 800 final Friday.
Plasencia added that Wally Ellenson, who combines basketball with the high jump, has had a chance to really focus on jumping the last month or so. He was third in the Big Ten at 6 feet, 11½ inches.
• One suggestion University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler won’t listen to is the building of a new basketball arena and tearing down Williams Arena. Currently a big remodeling job is being done on Northrop Hall, and Kaler rates Williams Arena as a similar sacred fixture on campus and will agree to remodeling the arena but not to a new arena.
• There was a lot of talk about how tough the just-released 2015 Gophers football schedule is. But if you look at the 2014 schedule, their last three games are Ohio State at home and then at Nebraska and at Wisconsin. That has to rank as the toughest last three games a Gophers football team has ever played.
• The Gophers men’s basketball team will get a real test when it plays in the Maui Invitational Nov. 25-27. The other seven teams in the Hawaiian tournament include host Chaminade, Arkansas, Baylor, California, Dayton, Syracuse and Gonzaga, the 2009 tournament champion. … While all contracts have not been signed and there could be some changes, the Gophers home nonconference schedule this season could include Florida State, Montana, New Orleans and South Dakota State, among others.
• Jon Ekstrom, a Vikings public relations assistant, has a nice claim to fame against a Minnesota pro athlete. While playing in the 2002 Kansas state baseball tournament for a Topeka team, Ekstrom hit a home run off Mike Pelfrey, who was pitching for a Wichita high school at the time and now pitches for the Twins.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. •