Gophers claim titles in two sports
It was certainly a weekend to remember in the world of Gopher sports, highlighted by the women’s track and field team winning the outdoor Big Ten championship and the softball team claiming its third straight Big Ten Tournament title.
In addition, the 37th-ranked men’s tennis team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000, downing No. 19 Georgia and No. 14 Oklahoma in the first two rounds, and the baseball team moved into first place in the Big Ten with a series win over Michigan State.
It was the third outdoor title (and seventh overall conference championship) for the women’s track and field team, which held off Purdue by two points (134-132), and Minnesota scored points in 15 of 21 events. Highlighting the weekend competition for the Gophers were a pair of runner-up finishes in triple jump and 4x100m relay along with three third-place showings, and the Gophers locked up the team title behind five points from Bethany Hasz and Megan Hasz in the 5,000-meter run.
The softball team, which overcame the loss of its head coach and an All-American pitcher from last year along with a sluggish start this season, won three straight in the Big Ten Tournament and downed Northwestern 9-6 in the title game Sunday. Maddie Houlihan hit .778 for the weekend and was named Most Outstanding Player in the tournament. The 39-15 Gophers will travel to the Seattle Regional and face Texas in their first NCAA Tournament game next weekend.