June 13, 2014
EUGENE, Ore. (GopherSports.com) – Wally Ellenson scored his second-straight outdoor First Team All-America honor on Friday night with a second-place finish in the men’s high jump at the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field.
Dominique Howard also picked up Second Team All-America honors for the Gophers on Friday in the men’s discus, finishing ninth.
“We’ve had a great run so far this week at the NCAA championships, and Wally and Dom certainly brought their A game for us today,” Minnesota Director of Men’s Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia said. “We’re thrilled for them and proud of them. You can’t ask for much better than what our guys have given us this week.”
Ellenson cleared 2.25 meters (7-04.50 ft.) to set a new personal record on Friday and improve his finish from last year’s national championships (tied eighth). Ellenson was one of only two competitors to clear the 2.25 mark along with Bryan McBride of Arizona State. McBride went on to win the national championship at 2.28 meters (7-05.75 ft.).
The Rice Lake, Wis., native’s second-place finish ties for the best NCAA outdoor high jump finish ever at Minnesota with Staffan Strand (1999 and 1997) and Tim Heikkila (1971) while his mark ties Stand and Matt Fisher for sixth all-time at Minnesota. Only Strand, the school record holder at 2.31 meters (7-07 ft.) among three other top jumps for the Maroon & Gold, and Mike Vukovich have jumped higher for the Gophers.
Making his first career appearance at the NCAA outdoor championships, Howard finished ninth in the discus competition with a throw of 58.60 meters (192-03 ft.).
Howard earned his first career All-America honor with the showing while the performance made the Ames, Iowa native the first Gophers All-American discus thrower since Karl Erickson finished fourth in 2006.
The Gophers have now listed All-Americans in all four events in which they have completed competition with Ellenson and Howard joining Zach Siegmeier (fifth in the pole vault, 5.50 meters) and Jon Lehman (10th in the hammer, 64.27 meters). Minnesota closes out the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday with John Simons competing in the men’s 1,500 meter finals (4:18 p.m. CT).
‘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.