May 23, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas – Wally Ellenson became the first member of the Minnesota men’s outdoor track and field team to punch his ticket for the NCAA Championships while three more Gophers advanced through the first day of competition on Thursday at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminary Championships.
Ellenson cleared 7-01 ft. (2.16 meters) to tie for seventh in the high jump at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin with the freshman coming just short of his personal record of 2.17 meters set earlier this year at the Hamline Invitational. The Rice Lake, Wis., native now moves on to the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. Minnesota high jumper Danny Schiller cleared 6-09.50 ft. (2.07 meters) but did not advance out of Thursday’s first round.
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s 800 meters duo of Harun Abda and Travis Burkstrand both advanced in Thursday’s preliminary races. Abda finished first in his heat and third overall with a time of 1:49.47 while Burkstrand finished second in his heat and ninth overall with a time of 1:49.64. The pair will look to move on to Eugene by finishing in the top 12 of Friday’s quarterfinals.
John Simons also advanced in the 1,500 meter run preliminaries with a season-best time of 3:45.31. The Hartland, Wis., native finished fourth in his heat and 13th overall to move on to Saturday’s semifinals. Alex Brend and Nick Hutton failed to advance in Friday’s 1,500 meter run preliminaries with times of 3:49.66 and 3:54.99, respectively. Jacob Capek also was unable to advance after posting a time of 47.47 in the 400 meter dash prelims.
Minnesota’s trio of discus throwers was unable to advance in the meet’s first event on Friday. Dominique Howard paced the Gophers contingency with a top throw of 171-08 ft. (52.33 meters) while Luke Johnson hit 163-05 ft. (49.80 meters) and Justin Barber came in at 162-11 ft. (49.80 meters).
The Gophers return to action on Friday for the second day of competition here in Austin.
Blankenship, Mead Shine in Olympic Finals
Mead and Blankenship recorded the best Olympic finishes by Gophers since Staffan Strand finished sixth in the high jump for Sweden during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Blankenship Punches Ticket to Olympic Final
Ben Blankenship (1,500) and Hassan Mead (5,000) will run in Olympic finals on Saturday night.
Mead Moves on to Olympic 5,000 Final
Mead races in the 5,000 meter final at Olympic Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT.