June 8, 2012
Juniors Quentin Mege and Micah Hegerle placed fifth and seventh, respectively, in the hammer and senior Hassan Meadfinished fourth in the 5000 meters as Minnesota gathered 11 points during its third and final day at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines.
The points were the first of the championships for Minnesota, which ended the competition on a high note after opening the meet in frustrating fashion. The trio of Gophers also qualified for first team All-America honors by virtue of their top-8 finishes.
Mege, the school-record holder in the hammer, finished the opening round in sixth place after a throw of 212-1 on his second attempt. The junior was able to move up one spot on his first attempt of the final round with a throw of 212-11 to finish the competition in fifth place. Hegerle's best attempt of 209-7 came on his second throw of the day.
“Micah did not finish in the top eight at the Big Ten meet so for him to score for us today was a nice boost,” said director of men's track and field/cross country Steve Plasencia. “Both Quentin and Micah were solid and I know they would have liked to have thrown longer but they got us rolling and to finish as All-Americans is something to be proud of.”
Mege and Hegerle were the top Big Ten finishers of the hammer completion, which was won by Virginia Tech's Alexander Ziegler with a throw of 248-7.
In the 5000 meters, Mead clocked the fastest time by a Gopher since he set the school record in 2009. He completed his final collegiate race in a time of 13:42.53 to earn the seventh All-America citation of his Minnesota career.
Southern Utan's Cameron Levins finished four seconds ahead of Mead to claim the title with a time of 13:40.05, followed by Paul Chelimo (13.41.04) of UNC-Greensboro and Lawi Lalang (13.42.20) of Arizona.
“The 5000 was a nerve-racking race because of the number of competitors,” Plasencia said. “Fortunally, Hassan was always near the front and was in third but faded a little down the stretch and was caught by Lalang. We turned things around today and it was good to finish strong.”
Blankenship Joins Mead on Olympic Team
A native of Stillwater, Minn., Blankenship took third in the 1,500 meter final at Hayward Field, clocking a 3:36.18.
Mead Punches Olympic Ticket
The Minneapolis, Minn., native ran a 13:35.70 at Hayward Field to earn his first bid to the Olympics.
Blankenship Paces Semis at Olympic Trials
The Stillwater, Minn., native led the field with a time of 3:44.24 in Friday's semifinals.