Feb. 21, 2014
• Complete Results | Complete Results | Lihrman Interview
MADISON, Wis. -- Move aside, Dan Taylor. Michael Lihrman is the new number one.
Competing at the Red & White Open at the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center, Lihrman unleashed a massive heave of 79 feet, 7 1/2 inches on his first attempt in the weight throw to set the all-time NCAA Division I record in the event.
The mark broke the Division I and Big Ten record of 78-9 1/4 -- set by Ohio State’s nine-time All-American Dan Taylor in 2004 -- by almost 10 inches and helped the No. 5-ranked Wisconsin men’s track and field team win the meet by totaling 259 points.
Lihrman’s throw, which set a new facility record for The Shell and shattered his own school best by over four feet, is also the best mark in the world in 2014.
“I always shoot for a goal that I think I probably can’t hit and I always surpass it,” Lihrman said. “I always surprise myself.”
But he wasn’t planning for a surprise of that magnitude.
“Not quite that big,” said Lirhman, a junior who transferred to UW and redshirted last season after two years at UW-Stout. “I just wanted to PR again to get geared up for next week, because that’s the week you have to peak.”
The UW-Stout transfer and two-time Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week has competed in the weight throw four times this season, emerging victorious on each occasion and extending his own school record three times.
Lihrman will have to be at his best once again next week at the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships, as the league boasts the top four throwers in the nation this season.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m really excited to see what happens there. That’s the week you have to throw the furthest.
“So if I can go further than this, then I’ll have one heck of a championship.”
In the much-anticipated 3000 meters, seniors Reed Connor and Mohammed Ahmed took to the track in hopes of securing NCAA championships qualifying times. Connor, who is the national leader in the 5000 meters, finished in 7 minutes, 59.46 seconds, which for NCAA-qualifying purposes converts to 7:53.95 and ranks ninth in the country.
Ahmed finished the race less than two seconds later in 8:01.29, which converts to 7:55.76. Ahmed remains 13th nationally after running a season-best 7:55.45 at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York in his only other race this season.
Connor and Ahmed currently will have the top two marks in the Big Ten heading into next weekend’s conference meet.
Lihrman wasn’t the only Badger to demolish a personal record in a field event, as Jesse Johnson had a remarkable performance of his own in the pole vault. The redshirt freshman cleared 17-3 to win the event and demolish is pervious best of 15-11.
That massive improvement ranks Johnson fourth in the Big Ten this year and fourth in school history. Along with Japheth Cato’s school-record and Big Ten-leading clearance of 18-2 1/2 last Saturday, two of UW’s top five all-time marks in the pole vault have come in the span of seven days.
In the shot put, Danny Block won with a season-best toss of 64-1 3/4. The throw ranks ninth in the nation and ties him for the Big Ten lead with Michigan State’s Antonio James. Block and James will compete against each other next weekend for the Big Ten title.
Back on the track, Austin Mudd won both the mile and 800 meters in the span of little more than an hour. The 2013 All-American, aiming for a sub-four minute mile, crossed the finish line in 4:02.36, which converts to 3:59.31, good for 16th in the country. An hour later, Mudd claimed a victory in the 800 meters in 1:57.13.
Championship season officially begins next weekend, as Wisconsin travels to the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, looking to defend its indoor conference title from 2013. The 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships are set for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and March 1.