Badger Track Roundup: Omole shines

Junior sprinter runs sub-10 100 meters at NCAA Regional, shattering Wisconsin record. Junior distance runner Chris Solinsky earned an automatic NCAA bid in the 5,000 meters. Competition continues Saturday.

Demi Omole, a junior sprinter on the University of Wisconsin men's track and field team, won his preliminary heat in the 100 meters at the NCAA Mideast Regional Friday in a blistering 9.96 seconds, recording the best time by a collegian this season and the third-fastest time in the world this year. Omole's time was the fastest qualifying time for Saturday's 100 final and is a school record, shattering the 10.11-second mark Omole set April 11 at the SeaRay Relays.

"That's a big stepping stone in his sprint career," UW head coach Ed Nuttycombe said. "He's in the finals now and has a chance to run for a spot in the nationals. He now has to be considered a favorite to win the NCAA title."

Aside from Omole's performance, the highlight for Wisconsin Friday in Knoxville, Tenn., was junior distance runner Chris Solinsky, who placed third in the 5,000 final in 14:02.01 to advance to the NCAA Championships. No other Badger — male or female — earned an automatic NCAA bid Friday.

Omole was one of only three Badgers who advanced to a Saturday final in Friday's preliminaries.

Senior Ben Gregory qualified for the finals in the 1,500, finishing fourth in his heat at 3:50.05, the ninth-fastest qualifying time.

On the women's side, senior Brionne Yosten qualified in the 1,500, placing sixth in her qualifying heat and snagging the 12th and final qualifying time at 4:34.33.

Other competitors on the men's side Friday included: freshman Christian Wagner (11th in the 5,000 final in 14:45.73), sophomore Derek Thiel (seventh in the pole vault final at 16-1 ¼), senior Alonzo Moore (12th in the long jump final at 24-3 ¾), senior Paul Check (fourth in his heath and 14th overall in the 110 hurdles at 13.94), freshman James Groce (fourth in his heat and 25th overall in the 400 in 47.69) and the 400 relay (fourth in its heat and ninth overall in 40.47).

Other competitors for the UW women included: junior Erica Schoeller (fourth in her heat and 13th overall in the 800 preliminaries in 2:10.59), junior Shuntia Lucas (fourth in her heat and 17th overall in the 100 meters in 11.6), freshman Ashley Benson (14th in the 5,000 final in 17:03.62), freshman Alicia Pabich (20th in the 5,000 in 17:28.49) and senior Linsey Smith (22nd in the 5,000 in 17:32.62).

The regional meet concludes today. In addition to Omole in the 100 and Gregory in the 1,500, the Badger men will have Codie See competing in the 3,000 steeplechase, Zach McCollum in the high jump, Alonzo Moore and Rick Bellford in the triple jump, Nate Brown in the javelin and Chad Melotte, Scott Hogseth, Groce and Joe Detmer on the 1,600 relay team.

The women will have Yosten in the 1,500, Amanda Ganser and ‘A Havahla Haynes in the steeplechase, Blair Luethmers and Jenny Soceka in the pole vault, and Michelle Bellford in the triple jump.

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