May 29, 2014
FAYETEVILLE, Ark. (GopherSports.com) – Big Ten pole vault champion Zach Siegmeier became the first member of the Minnesota men’s track & field team to earn a trip to the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Championships next month after punching his ticket on Thursday at John McDonnell Field.
The senior from Lakewood, Ill., tied for sixth in the first round of competition at the 2014 NCAA West Prelims, clearing 5.36 meters (17-07 ft.). The performance advances Siegmeier to the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore., June 11-14.
“Zach has had a tremendous campaign for us this year, and he really deserves to finish up his college career at the NCAA championships next month,” Men’s Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia said. “All in all, our first day had some ups and downs. Certainly, Zach and John Simons had great showings for us, and hopefully we’ll have more like that over the next two days.”
Simons, a fifth-year senior, also advanced in the 1,500 meters on Thursday. The Hartland, Wis., native finished sixth overall (second in his heat) with a time of 3:43.03 in the preliminary round and will attempt to punch his own ticket to Eugene on Saturday in the 1,500 semifinals. Blayne Dulian finished 32nd in the preliminary round with a time of 3:48.60.
Meanwhile, Andrew Larsen closed out his collegiate career with a 39th-place finish in the 10,000 meters, clocking a 31:44.73, while Goaner Deng came in 35th in the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.55. In field events, Big Ten long jump champion Trevor Yedoni tied for 17th with a leap of 7.32 meters (24-00.25 ft.) and Logan Connors finished 42nd in the javelin with a throw of 57.52 meters (188-08 ft.). The Gophers had two competitors in the shot put with Mark Jennings finishing 32nd at 16.92 meters (55-06.25 ft.) and Emmanuel Onyia finishing 37th at 16.69 meters (54-09.25 ft.).
Minnesota continues to compete at the NCAA West Prelims on Friday with the men’s hammer throw (Jon Lehman), the men’s high jump (Wally Ellenson, Danny Schiller) and the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase (Bob Nicolls).
‘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.