Gophers Send Three to NCAAs
March 13, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) -- The Minnesota men's indoor track & field program will send three competitors to the 2014 NCAA Men's Indoor Track & Field Championships this weekend in Albuquerque, N.M.
Seniors John Simons (3,000 meters), Jon Lehman (weight throw) and Zach Siegmeier (pole vault) will represent the University of Minnesota at this year's national championships, hosted by the University of New Mexico at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The two-day events begins Friday, March 13 and conclude Saturday, March 14.
Weight Throw Preview
Hot off a runner-up finish at the Big Ten championships, John Lehman enters the NCAA championships as the third seed in this year's weight throw competition. The school record holder is one of 16 competitors in this year's field with his 22.98 meter seed mark among the best in the field. Lehman is among familiar competiton with the Big Ten boasting six of the throwers including the top four overall seeds.
Lehman finished fifth in the weight throw at last year's NCAA championships -- earning All-America honors with a throw of 21.35 meters.
The men's weight throw trials and finals are set for 5:00 p.m. CT on Friday.
3,000 Meter Run Preview
John Simons enters the NCAA field with a 7:52.62 seed mark in the 3,000 meter run field. The senior is seeded 13th among 16 competitors with his mark ranking second among Big Ten competitors.
The senior was the Big Ten runner-up in the 3,000 meters earlier this month with his 7:52.62 serving as a personal best. The mark also stands as the second-fastest time in school history. Simons also won the Big Ten championship in the mile at this year's meet with a time of 4:15.73 in the finals after running 4:03.96 in the preliminaries.
Simons was an All-American for the Gophers in the mile after finishing fifth at last year's NCAA competition.
The men's 3,000 meter run finals are scheduled for 8:40 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Pole Vault Preview
Zach Siegmeier's mark of 5.45 meters in the pole vault has the senior seeded 10th in the 16-man field for this year's NCAA championships.
Siegmeier is coming off a Big Ten title earlier this month, clearing a height of 5.26 meters (17-03.00 ft.) with his seed in the NCAAs ranking second among Big Ten competitors.
The men's pole vault finals are set for 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Lehman Named USTFCCCA Midwest Field Athlete of the Year
Earlier this week, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named Jon Lehman the 2014 USTFCCCA Midwest Field Athlete of the Year after a phenomenal indoor season from the Gophers senior.
A native of Coon Rapids, Minn., Lehman set the school record in the weight throw earlier this year at the Snowshoe Open with his throw of 22.98 meters (75-05 ft.) The mark ranks third in the NCAA this season.
The senior captain for the Gophers has four individual wins this season - the Snowshoe Open, the Bill Bergan Invitational, the Iowa State Classic and the Northwest Open.
The Second Team All-Big Ten honoree finished second in the weight throw at the conference meet earlier this month with a toss of 22.68 meters (74-05 ft.) and will compete at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships this weekend in Albuquerque, N.M.
Honoring Roy Griak
The 2014 Minnesota men's track & field and cross country season marks the 50th year of service to the University of Minnesota by legendary coach Roy Griak. Griak served as the head coach of the Minnesota men's cross country team from 1963-1996 and led the Gophers to three Big Ten titles. Griak has remained on staff as an administrative assistant since handing over the reigns of the program to current Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia. Minnesota honors its long-time coach each Fall with the Roy Griak Invitational -- the 28th running of the Griak was held on Sept. 28.