Starting off strong

Wisconsin has solid showing at day one of NCAA Outdoor Championships

Severe thunderstorms in Texas may have kept the Wisconsin men's and women's track teams from competition on Wednesday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, but on Thursday, not much could stop a few Badgers from advancing to the finals in various events.

Since the weather was not cooperating, the meet had to be postponed until Thursday. With the loss of a day, the NCAA decided to cancel all the semi-final rounds in the running events and just hold preliminaries and finals. All qualifying rounds that were scheduled for Wednesday in the field events were also cancelled and the NCAA decided to have finals only.

Though there were a few cancellations, the Badgers were still well represented during Thursday's competition. Wisconsin had runners present in six different events and ended up qualifying three runners for the finals.

The day started out with freshman Demi Omole qualifying for the finals in the 100-meter dash. He finished third in his heat and clocked a non-wind-aided time of 10.19 seconds. This was a personal best for Omole and was also one hundredth of a second away from the current Wisconsin record held by Michael Bennett. Omole finished eighth overall in the preliminaries and will be the only freshman competing in the finals on Friday.

Next came junior Hillary Edmunson's 1,500 meter race. By finishing second in her heat with a time of 4:17.54, Edmunson automatically qualified for the finals. Going into Saturday's finals, she will be ranked sixth overall.

The men were also able to qualify one in the 1,500 meters. Junior Josh Spiker automatically qualified for the finals by finishing fourth in his heat. He crossed the finish line in 4:36.82 and will also enter into Saturday's finals as the sixth ranked runner.

Finally, the Badgers saved the best for last on Thursday with the 10,000 meters. Since there was no preliminary round, the four Wisconsin runners only had one chance. Those four took advantage of that one chance as all finished within the top 15. Sophomore Simon Bairu's time of 29:57.24 was good enough for a third place finish. Freshman Tim Nelson, sophomore Bobby Lockhart and junior Tim Keller all came in close behind with 10th, 11th and 13th place finishes respectively. Bairu, Nelson and Lockhart were all rewarded with All-American after the race.

Wisconsin will continue competition on Friday in five different running and field events.

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