Feb. 15, 2013
• Complete Results | Complete Results
MADISON, Wis. -- Just one centimeter gave Danny Block a school record. A single centimeter also kept him out of the NCAA championships.
But that was a year ago, and the junior left no doubt about either circumstance with his performance Friday for the 11th-ranked Wisconsin men’s track and field team.
Block had an outstanding showing at the Badgers’ own Red & White Open, using a monster throw of 63 feet, 5 1/2 inches to smash his own school record and vault to the top of the Big Ten standings just a week out from the conference championships.
The toss ranks Block as the best in the Big Ten and sixth nationally this season, and will likely qualify for the NCAA championships.
That’s a change from a year ago, when he topped former Badger Joe Thomas’ UW record by a single centimeter at 62-0 1/2. That effort turned out to be the best shot put mark in history to not qualify for the NCAA indoor championships. Block missed the final qualifying spot for the national meet by a single centimeter.
“I’ve been waiting for that ever since last year, not getting into nationals by a centimeter,” Block said. “It’s good to punch my ticket for real this time.
“That’s a huge monkey off my back. It feels good to finally get it.”
He got it and finished as one of 12 Badgers to claim event wins in UW’s final tune-up for next week’s Big Ten championships.
As the conference leader, Block says he will head into the Big Ten meet with a much different strategy.
“These meets, it’s all about throwing far,” he said. “At Big Tens, it’s about competing and trying to win. I don’t care what the distance is, I just want to win.”
Despite the record-setting performance, Block feels he can throw even farther in the final three weeks of the season.
“That was a big PR, but it didn’t feel that good,” he said. “There should be a lot more coming.”
Fellow thrower Michael Lihrman also had a noteworthy performance for the Badgers, breaking the facility record at The Shell with a heave of 70-10 3/4 to win the weight throw. The junior, competing unattached, would have easily topped UW’s school record if he were competing in a UW uniform.
Even so, the mark broke The Shell record of 70-9 set by Jon Pullum of Purdue in 2008 and ranks as the No. 7 performance by an American this season.
Other strong performances included Japheth Cato in the long jump and Matt Kerswill in the 60 meters.
Cato, who used the meet to prepare to defend his back-to-back Big Ten titles in the heptathlon next week, had his best jump of the season. He won the event with a leap of 24-7 3/4. The mark ranks fourth in the Big Ten and is tied for 18th nationally. Cato also won the pole vault by clearing 16-10 3/4.
Kerswill finished second in the 60 meters, crossing the finish line in 6.93 seconds, the fastest time run by a Badger this season.
Wisconsin also claimed event victories in the 200 meters (Fred Willis), 400 meters (Brett Hartman), 600 meters (Tyler Woloszyk), 800 meters (Alex Hatz), mile (Rob Finnerty), 3000 meters (Michael Van Voorhis), 60 hurdles (Matt Widule) and high jump (Paul Annear).
The Badgers will head to the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23 to compete in the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships.