March 3, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- Members of the Wisconsin men’s track and field team had one final shot to qualify for the NCAA indoor championships on Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
Perhaps sparked by their teammates automatically qualifying in the distance medley relay on Friday, the foursome of Brady Hammon, Garret Payne, Aaron Thompson and Drew Simmons teamed up and ran the fastest time in the 4x400 relay for Wisconsin this season.
The Badgers' quartet completed the relay in a time of 3 minutes, 9.89 seconds, which earned them eighth in the event. The performance also ranks No. 8 on the Badgers' all-time list in the 4x400.
The finishing time was good enough to move the Badgers up to No. 23 nationally, but not into NCAA championships consideration.
Mississippi State won the event, automatically qualifying for the NCAAs and finishing with a time of 3:05.07. Penn State, Pittsburgh and Ohio State rounded out the top four, each also qualifying for next weekend’s championships in Idaho.
Wisconsin junior Reed Connor also took to the track and ran in the 3000 meters with a shot at qualifying for the championships. Connor finished with his second-fastest time in the event this season, clocking in at 8:02.54 to take second place.
Earlier this season at the Tyson Invitational, Connor ran the 3000 in 7:56.41, which ranks him No. 33 in the nation.
In the 400 meters, sophomore Tyler Woloszyk finished 15th with a time of 48.35 seconds.
Tim Hucke ran in the 800 meters and finished 36th in 1:53.10, his second-best time of the season.
After automatically qualifying for the heptathlon earlier in the season, Japheth Cato had last-chance weekend off, but now joins the UW distance medley relay team of Zach Mellon, Thompson, Austin Mudd and Alex Hatz in preparation for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships, which take place next Friday and Saturday, March 9-10, in Nampa, Idaho.