Track and field team adjusts to cancellation of first home meet

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Redshirt sophomore Rachel Schow clears a hurdle on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at the Field House. The Gophers competed against several other colleges at the Jack Johnson Classic Track Meet.

The Minnesota track and field team’s home opener was canceled on Saturday due to inclement weather.

The weather postponed what was to be Minnesota’s first outdoor home meet in a decade. The team was without a stadium before the University of Minnesota Track and Field Stadium opened in September 2018.

“I blame myself for getting my hopes up, knowing the Minnesota weather. It was definitely going to be a special thing, to have a first home meet in over a decade, and to be able to be a part of that historic moment,” said senior Temi Ogunrinde. “It sucks that the weather kind of prohibited that from happening, but obviously, safety [comes] first; there was no way we could’ve competed in this weather.”

On the bright side, the canceled meet allowed the team to reflect on their successes in the season thus far.

“We’ve learned a lot about each other [so far]. The coaches learned a lot, the student-athletes learned a lot; [we’re] trying to learn how to compete, how to travel and how to work with each other,” program director Matt Bingle said. “As we’ve moved outdoors, things have been really good. … I feel like the culture is coming, performances are coming and we’re really moving in the right direction at the right time. We’re having a lot of fun as one team, so that’s really exciting.”

The Gophers had a steady season, competing in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan before the women’s team placed seventh and the men’s team placed ninth at the Big Ten Indoor Championships meet.

Then, at the NCAA Indoor Championships, throwers Kiley Sabin, Jonathan Tharaldsen, Kieran McKeag and distance runner Obsa Ali picked up Second Team All-America honors. The team followed up their indoor season with impressive showings at outdoor meets in Miami, Stanford and Arizona.

“It’s the thick of the season; we’ve been gone every weekend, and now with the meet canceled we’ll finally have a weekend off to relax. I’ll be doing that [and] catching up on a lot of homework,” Ogunrinde said.

“I definitely was a little bit disappointed; it was very exciting to get a season opener on a home track and I was excited to watch our team compete together. But I know that we have a couple of meets coming up,” said team captain Rachel Schow.

The team ended the week strong with practices and weight-lifting sessions before getting the weekend off to prepare for their next meet at Duke on April 19.

“I definitely was bummed; we finally have this outdoor track that we can use and, of course, Minnesota gets a blizzard. I know that people were really looking forward to being able to compete on our own home turf finally,” Sabin said. “But I know that we got in another hard week of training, everyone got better this week and we have two more meets coming up later. As much as it sucks to not be able to compete this weekend, we got better this week.”

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