Unbalanced logo

Minnesota Wins Big Ten

TF2K24: Illinois Jumpers Take Three Golds

By Winners OnlyPublished about a month ago 3 min read

As Minnesota's Abigail Schaaffe approached the finish line in the 1,600-meter relay, it looked like Ohio State was about to capture a third straight Big Ten gold medal in the event.

Somehow, someway Schaaffe, who was on the previous Minnesota gold medal winning 1,600-meter relay squad in 2021, caught and surpassed Ohio State's Chanler Robinson to regain the championship. Minnesota finished the race at 3:33.34, just ahead of the Buckeyes at 3:33.35. Indiana won the bronze in the event at 3:37.44.

Last weekend's Big Ten Championships saw some of the top collegiate performers in the sport of track and field compete in Ann Arbor Michigan, May 10-12.

Minnesota won the team championship with a total of 131 points. This was the Gopher's first team win at the Big Ten outdoor meet since 2018. Nebraska was second at 115.33, just ahead of Ohio State's 115 points.

Along with the first place 1,600-meter relay squad that also included Janielle Josephs, Jayla Campbell and Brooke Jaworski, who teamed with Schaaffe, Minnesota got some strong contributions from other athletes who helped guide the program to victory.

Once the Gophers were announced as champions, nobody celebrated harder than Odell Frye. The Waseca, Minnesota native who was seen leaping repeatedly as well as hugging any teammate that crossed her path, earned a silver medal in the 100 meters, a bronze in the 400-meter relay and also a top four finish in the 200 meters. She contributed to 19 of her team's points which were crucial in its win.

One of the more surprising performances came from Minnesota's Autumn Glover. A year ago while competing for Michigan State, the Novi, Michigan native placed ninth in the heptathlon. On the opening day of two for this year's event, the new Minnesota multi-event standout said that she just wanted to score points for her team. For those who don't know, the top eight finishers in any event score in track and field. If you finish eighth you are awarded one point. Seventh place gets two.

Glover was doing so well that she entered the final event in first place. She closed the heptathlon with a top three finish, shocking even herself with 5,377 points in just her second time competing in the event.

"I surprised myself mostly," said the bronze medal winner who scored six points for Minnesota. "It just sets the bar higher for me. Next time, second or first is going to be the next shot. This is a very high accomplishment and now I want more. I'm hungry for more, for next year."

Illinois finished outside of the top three with the meet's fourth highest total of 96 points. Tori Thomas, of Illinois, broke a seven year Big Ten Championship record while winning the pole vault competition on May 10 with a mark of 4.52 meters. She survived a gritty effort from Chloe Timberg of Rutgers, who earned a silver medal at 4.47. Thomas' teammate Mia Morello took the bronze at 4.22.

On day two of the meet, Illinois dominated in the long jump. Tacoria Humphrey went from a runner-up finish in 2023, to a gold medal win this season. "I feel like this year I was more focused on what I was working on in practice and I really just got out of my head," Humphrey said while having fun on day three of the meet. When all of her events for the championships was over she posed with her gold medal while teammate Taylor Beard snapped pictures during an impromptu photo shoot.

"I feel like I was more mentally prepared this year, than last year," Humphrey continued. "We got regionals and then we got nationals, then we got Olympic trials." With excitement, Humphrey confidently shared her plans to advance out of next weekend's West Regional to the NCAA Championships. From there she hopes to have a shot to represent the United States in the Olympics.

Humphrey a junior was one of three Illinois long jumpers in the top five. Her freshmen teammates Elizabeth Ndudi (6.21) and Sophia Beckmon (6.21) were fourth and fifth respectively. Despite jumping the same length, Ndudi had the second best mark of the two at 5.81 meters, compared to Beckmon's 5.75. Junior Darja Sopova placed eighth a day before taking home a third place medal in the triple jump at 13.36 meters.

As the final day of action proceeded, Illinois also shined in the high jump. Rose Yeboah won the conference championship at 1.82 meters. Three Illini participants finished in the top five in this event just as they did in the long jump. Bara Sajdokova placed fourth (1.76) and Taylor Beard finished fifth (1.73).


About the Creator

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For FreePledge Your Support

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    Winners  OnlyWritten by Winners Only

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.