May 25, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas – The Minnesota men’s outdoor track and field team will send seven individuals as well as the program’s 4x400 relay team to the NCAA championships next month in Oregon after this weekend’s 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminary Championships.
Saturday saw the Big Ten’s top hammer throwers – Quentin Mege (217-07 ft., 66.33 meters) and Micah Hegerle (211-11 ft., 64.60 meters) – qualify in the morning before John Simons (3:45.54) punched his own ticket to Eugene in the afternoon in the 1,500 meter quarterfinals. Oladipo Fagbemi (51-05.50 ft., 15.68 meters ) opened the night by advancing in the triple jump before the 4x400 relay crew of Jacob Capek, Harun Abda, Goaner Deng and Cameron Boy capped the weekend with the sixth-best time in school history (3:06.12) to move on to Eugene, Ore. Wally Ellenson (high jump, 7-01 ft., 2.16 meters), Abda (800 meters, 1:48.18) and Travis Burkstrand (800 meters, 1:48.46) qualified for the NCAA championships earlier in the weekend.
After the hammer throw was initially rained out on Friday, the Gophers duo of Mege and Hegerle had to wait through another brief rain delay on Saturday morning before competition got underway. Despite the inclement weather as well as the lingering effects of a broken hand that has sidelined Mege for much of the outdoor season, the senior hit 217-07 ft. (66.33 meters) for the second longest throw of the event. Meanwhile, Hegerle followed up his Big Ten title performance two weeks ago with a mark of 211-11 ft. (64.60 meters) on Saturday to notch the eighth longest throw of the day in Austin. Jon Lehman hit 194-03 ft. (59.21 meters) but did not advance on Saturday. The Gophers NCAA championships-bound duo has pushed each other throughout the outdoor season with Mege and Hegerle sharing some impressive career accolades including the last four Big Ten outdoor hammer throw championships, six combined All-America honors including four in the outdoor hammer throw and Mege’s school record of 221-05 ft. (67.49 meters) set earlier this season.
Simons became the sixth Gopher to earn a qualifying bid the NCAA championships after qualifying in the 1,500 meter quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon in Austin. Simons’s time of 3:45.54 was the 11th best in the field, earning the Gopher a trip to nationals next month in Eugene.
Fagbemi set a new personal record and improved his own fourth-place ranking in the Minnesota outdoor history books to 51-05.50 ft. (15.68 meters) in the triple jump. The senior’s mark was the 10th longest leap in Saturday’s competition and advanced Fagbemi to the NCAA Championships.
The climax of the night came from Minnesota’s 4x400 relay team as Capek, Abda, Deng and Boy finished third in their heat at 3:06.12 to earn an automatic bid to next month’s competition in Eugene. The Gophers relay squad’s performance would rank eighth on the night in Austin.
Additionally, Logan Connors hit 177-05 ft. (54.09 meters) in the javelin Saturday afternoon but did not advance. Minnesota’s pair of competitors in the pole vault also were unable to move on. Big Ten champion Zach Siegmeier cleared 17-04.50 ft. (5.30 meters) for 19th in the prelims while Jack Szmanda cleared 16-06.75 ft. (5.05 meters). Boy clocked a 21.43 in the 200 meter semifinals but did not advance to next month’s finals.
Minnesota Men’s NCAA Qualifiers
Harun Abda (800 meters – 3rd, 1:48.18)
Travis Burkstrand (800 meters – 6th, 1:48.46)
Wally Ellenson (high jump – T-7th, 7-01 ft., 2.16 meters)
Oladipo Fagbemi (triple jump – 10th, 51-05.50 ft., 15.68 meters)
Micah Hegerle (hammer throw – 8th, 211-11 ft., 64.60 meters)
Quentin Mege (hammer throw – 2nd, 217-07 ft., 66.33 meters)
John Simons (1,500 meters – 11th, 3:45.54)
‘U’ Alum Siegmeier Joins Gophers Staff
A two-time All-American and three-time Big Ten champion, Zach Siegmeier will serve as director of operations for men's track & field and cross country.
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.