NCAA Championships Preview
June 10, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) -- The No. 23 University of Minnesota men's track and field team will send five student-athletes to the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships this weekend in Eugene, Ore.
Gophers in Eugene
Here's the schedule of events for all five Minnesota student-athletes competing in Eugene this week.
Wednesday (June 11)
6:00 p.m. CT - Men's Pole Vault Trials & Finals (Zach Siegmeier)
Thursday (June 12)
3:30 p.m. CT - Men's Hammer Throw Trials & Finals (Jon Lehman)
6:30 p.m. CT - Men's 1,500 Meter Semifinals (John Simons)
Friday (June 13)
5:20 p.m. CT - Men's High Jump Finals (Wally Ellenson)
6:00 p.m. CT - Men's Discus Trials and Finals (Dominique Howard)
Saturday (June 14)
4:18 p.m. CT - Men's 1,500 Meter Finals (John Simons)
Minnesota Jumps Into National Rankings
After a stellar showing at the 2014 NCAA West Prelims, the Gophers program earned its first national ranking of the season last week in the the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll -- the final poll by the organization until after the NCAA championships.
The June 3 poll ranked Minnesota 23rd in the nation with 71.87 points as one of four Big Ten schools in the national rankings. The Gophers' jump from 43rd the previous week to 23rd in last week's poll represented the biggest jump of any program in the top 25.
Gophers at the NCAA Outdoor Championships
Did you know the University of Minnesota has celebrated a total of nine individual NCAA Outdoor championships as well as the 1948 NCAA Team Championships. Adam Steele is the last Gopher to win an NCAA title in the outdoor 400 meters in 2003 while Jack DeField (pole vault) and Bob Fitch (discus) were the first to win national titles in 1942. Fortune Gordien is the most decorated national champion in school history, winning three-straight titles in the discus between 1946 and 1948. Gordien was also the captain of Minnesota's 1948 NCAA title team.
Minnesota Individual Outdoor NCAA Champions
1942 - Jack DeField (Pole Vault, 14-1)
Meanwhile, the Gophers have also totaled 104 All-America honors in the outdoor season including returners Wally Ellenson and John Simons. Ellenson finished tied for eighth in the high jump at the NCAA championships last year to earn First Team honors while Simons came in 10th in the 1,500 meters for Second Team accolades.
Now in his sixth year as Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country, Steve Plasencia has coached his student-athletes to a total of 24 All-America honors in the outdoor season since taking over the program in 2009. Plasencia was a two-time All-American himself for the Gophers in the 5,000 meters in 1976 and 1977.
ESPN to Cover NCAA Championships
ESPN Networks will cover every day of the meet, with Wednesday and Thursday being broadcast on ESPN3, starting at 3:55 p.m. PT. Events on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast live ESPNU starting at 4:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively.