June 11, 2014
EUGENE, Ore. (GopherSports.com) - In his final meet for the No. 23 University of Minnesota men's track & field team, senior Zach Siegmeier certainly didn't disappoint.
The two-time defending Big Ten outdoor pole vault champion finished tied for fifth at the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Wednesday evening at Hayward Field. In a performance that earned Siegmeier his first career First Team All-America honor and second overall accolade (Second Team during this year's indoor season), the Lakewood, Ill., native cleared 5.50 meters (18-00.50 ft.).
The performance marks Minnesota's first outdoor All-America honor in the pole vault since Tye Harvey in 1998 while Siegemier's finish is the best by a Gophers' pole vaulter at the national championships since Martin Eriksson finished third in 1993.
"Zach certainly got us off to a great start at the NCAA championships today, and we couldn't be happier to see him close out his career at Minnesota with such a prestigious honor as a First Team All-American," Minnesota Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia said. "There were a lot of great competitors in the pole vault, and like he's done all season for us, Zach really stepped up and set the tone for us for the rest of the weekend."
In one of the best NCAA pole vault competitions since 1991, nine student-athletes cleared 18 feet or more with Sam Kendricks of Ole Miss successfully defending his NCAA title with a height of 5.70 meters (18-08.25 ft.) while Akron's Shawn Barber, Tennessee's Jake Blankenship and Eastern Illinois' Peter Geraghty rounded out the top four. Siegmeier tied with Texas A&M's Chase Wolfle for fifth in the event.
The Gophers continue to compete at the NCAA championships on Thursday with Jon Lehman in the men's hammer throw trials and finals and John Simons in the men's 1,500 meter semifinals.
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.