Men's track qualifies five more for NCAAs

UW men and women have 14 total automatic bids for NCAAs with at-large berths possibly on the way

The University of Wisconsin men's track and field team automatically qualified five athletes for the NCAA Championships Saturday, in the second and final day of Mideast Regional qualifying in Bloomington, Ind., giving the team 12 automatic qualifiers for the June 8-11 national meet in Sacramento, Calif. The Badger men could also send more athletes to NCAAs when the at-large bids are announced.

"The automatic qualifiers that we know we got in is a pretty good group but if the ones we think will get in, it's going to be a really good group going to nationals and we hope to make a splash there," men's head coach Ed Nuttycombe said.

Sophomore Demi Omole automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100-meter dash, after placing second at the regional in 10.33 seconds. Omole took 10th in the 200-meter dash in 20.91, however, and will not qualify for NCAAs in that event.

Senior Matt Tegenkamp and sophomore Chris Solinsky finished third and fifth, respectively, in the 5,000, in 13 minutes, 57.96 seconds and 13:59.62, to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Junior Simon Bairu dropped out of the 5,000 after setting the pace for the first 3,000 meters. UW senior Tim Keller did not qualify for the championships after finishing 11th in 14:20.66.

Senior Josh Spiker took third in the 1,500 in 3:45.88 to advance to the NCAA Championships.

In the triple jump, junior Alonzo Moore took fifth at 52 feet, 1 ¾ inches and will head to the national meet. Junior Rick Bellford placed seventh at 51-10 ½ in the same event and could advance to the NCAAs with an at-large bid.

The 400-meter relay team of sophomore Brian Calhoun, senior Jvontai Hanserd, sophomore Dan Goesch and Omole placed fifth at the regional meet in a season-best time of 39.71, the second-fastest time in UW history. Although only the top three relays automatically advance to the NCAA championships (top five individuals), the Badger quartet is likely to earn a place in the field after posting the 16th fastest time in the nation this season.

Badgers who did not qualify Saturday include: junior Bobby Lockhart (13th, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 9:01.48); sophomore Codie See (19th, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 9:07.35); and senior Darren Niedermeyer (did not clear opening height of 16-1 ¼ in pole vault).

In Friday's first day of regional competition, three other Badgers advanced to NCAAs: Joe Thomas in the shot put, Brent Boettcher in the high jump and Nate Brown in the javelin.

Five athletes qualified in events that are not a part of regional competition: Bairu, Tim Nelson and Antony Ford in the 10,000 meters and Brown and Ben Roland in the decathlon.

If the 400 relay and Bellford in the triple jump are admitted to NCAAs with at-large bids, the Badgers will have 16 athletes competing in 10 events on the men's side.

All told, Wisconsin finished fourth in the Mideast Regional with 49 points, while defending national champion Arkansas took the team title with 94.5 points.

"That's awesome because you're talking about by far the toughest region in the country," Nuttycombe said. "To finish fourth, I'm very pleasantly surprised."

Women's track: Lucas places sixth to lead Badgers

Sophomore sprinter Shuntia Lucas took sixth in the 200-meter dash in 23.64 seconds Saturday to earn three of the UW women's team's four points in the NCAA Mideast Regional. Sophomore ‘A Havahla Haynes placed eighth in 10:35.33 in the 3,000-meter steeple chase, earning Wisconsin's only other point.

The UW women's team finished tied for 33rd at the regional with the four points. Both Lucas and Haynes finished outside of the top five necessary for automatic qualifying for the NCAA Championships, but could earn at-large bids to Sacramento.

Badgers who did not qualify Saturday include: sophomore Amanda Ganser, (20th, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 10:51.30); sophomore Michelle Bellford, (tied for 14th, triple jump, 40-0 ¾); senior Michelle Lilienthal (18th, 5,000 meters, 17:38.29); junior Linsey Blaisdell (21st, 5,000 meters, 17:49.37); and senior Courtney Bauer (22nd, shot put, 46-6 ¾)

Sophomore Katrina Rundhaug had already qualified for the NCAA championships in the 10,000 meters and junior Melissa Talbot has done so in the heptathlon.

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