One last chance

Wisconsin track teams qualify in four more events for the NCAA Outdoor Championships

The Wisconsin men's and women's track teams received one last opportunity to try and qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships with their participation in the NCAA Mideast Regional meet on Friday and Saturday in Baton Rouge, La. After the two-day competition, a few Badgers took advantage of their last chance to compete in the championships on June 9-12 in Austin, Texas.

During the first day, the men's team only had one qualifier for the NCAA Championships. Sophomore distance runner Simon Bairu was the lone qualifier on Friday with his event-winning time of 14:13.08 in the 5,000 meters. Freshmen Chris Solinsky and Tim Nelson as well as junior Matt Tegenkemp also competed in the event and crossed the finish line eighth, tenth and fourteenth respectively. None of them were qualifiers at the regional meet but Solinsky and Tegenkemp will still participate in the championships thanks to their season-best times of 13:42.44 and 13:30.90 respectively that were recorded earlier in the season.

Freshman sprinter Demi Omole did not reach an NCAA qualifying time on Friday but his time of 10.16 seconds in the non-windaided 100 meters did shatter a previous Wisconsin record. Before Omole, Michael Bennett held the record when he ran a 10.18 in the event during the 2000 season.

Omole also participated in the almost record-breaking 400-meter relay team. The relay team of Omole, Jvontai Hanserd, Paul Hubbard and Dan Goesch recorded the second fastest time in Wisconsin history at 39.81 seconds.

Day two proved to be a little bit more rewarding with the Badgers qualifying in three more events for the NCAA Championships.

While Friday's performance was hard to top, the men's 400-meter relay team had another strong race on Saturday. Their time of 39.96 seconds was good enough for a third place finish and an invitation to compete at the championships.

Though Omole will be going to Austin with his relay team, he also will be able to compete on his own. On Saturday he finished fourth and clocked a 10.12 in the wind-aided 100 meters.

After many tries throughout the weekend, the women's team finally found a qualifier on the last day of the meet. Senior Hillary Edmonson almost recorded a personal best with her third place finish of 4:16.36 in the 1,500 meters.

Though the Badgers were able to qualify a few runners, they were unable to score many points as a team. The men's team finished the weekend with 30 points, which tied them with Indiana for sixth place. The women's team only tallied eight points and also finished in a tie for 23rd.

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