GENEVA, OHIO – The Gophers women's track and field team won four more event titles Saturday — boosting its total to eight — and easily took first place in the Big Ten indoor championships at the SPIRE Institute.
The Gophers finished with 138 points, followed by Michigan with 80 and Iowa with 75.
"It was a great team win, they rallied around each other," said Matt Bingle, Gophers director of track and field and cross country. "… We knew coming in, we had a good team. But they took it to another level. They surprised us as a staff. We felt we had a good chance to win it and they really responded well.
"It was unbelievable, an amazing effort. They kept coming and coming every day."
Bingle said the Gophers' fast start on Day 1 of the three-day event was an important step. "We had three bigs wins — distance medley relay, weight throw and 3,000. That got the team going and created some momentum."
The Gophers' Amira Young won the 60-meter dash (7.29 seconds) and the 200 (23.24) to stay unbeaten in those events this season. Her time in the 200 was a program record.
"She is a great young lady, a team captain, said Bingle, referring to Young. "She has taken it to another level, made lot changes in terms of practices and continues to mature."
Abigail Schaffe won the 600 (1:27.96) while teammate Val Larson (1:28.67) finished second for the third year in a row. Schaffe also ran on one winning relay, Larson on two.
Later, Larson and Schaffe were the last two runners on the winning 4x400 relay (3:35.51).
This is the fifth Big Ten title for the women; the others were in 2007, '08, '09 and '18. Last year Minnesota finished second, five points behind Ohio State (104), which won its second title in a row.
"Last year, we left the Big Ten meet feeling really disappointed," Bingle said. "It's cool to see how they've grown and matured, especially with everything they have gone through over the last year."
Here's a breakdown by numbers of what the Gophers accomplished:
• Eight first-place finishes (worth 80 points), one second (8), five thirds (30), three sixths (9), two sevenths (4) and two eighths (2).
• Scored at least one point in 14 of the 18 events (shut out only in 60 hurdles, mile, 5,000 and high jump).
• First- and second-place finishes in two events, 60 and 600.
The top 16 athletes nationally in each indoor event qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 11-13 in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Gophers should find out who their national qualifiers are early this week.
"We are not quite sure how many we will have," Bingle said. "We feel six to 10 women and two men. So maybe eight to 12 athletes in Arkansas.
On the men's side, the Gophers placed fifth with 70 points and won their only individual title on the third day when Owen Hoeft took first in the mile (4:05.45).
Ben Psicihulis was second in the 600 and ran on the runner-up 4x400 relay (3:10.23).
"Our men coming into the meet were supposed to score 50 points," Bingle said, "and they wound up scoring 70."
The men's indoor program is one of three the Board of Regents voted to eliminate at the end of this academic year.