May 29, 2014
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Mohammed Ahmed is the first Badger to punch his ticket to the NCAA outdoor championships, as the decorated senior finished seventh in the semifinals of 10,000 meters at the 2014 NCAA West Preliminary Round on Thursday.
Ahmed finished the 25-lap race in 29 minutes, 35.29 seconds to advance to the NCAA final in the 10,000 meters for the second time in his career. As a freshman, Ahmed finished fourth at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships to earn All-America laurels. He then qualified for the 2011 and 2012 NCAA meets in the 5000 meters before redshirting the 2013 outdoor campaign.
The St. Catharines, Ontario, native started with the lead pack and finished with the leaders as Texas Tech's Kennedy Kithuka won the race in 29:05.77.
Junior Michael Van Voorhis was in contention, but missed the cut by five seconds by finishing 17th in 29:46.99. The top 12 finishers moved on to the final round of the 10,000 at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
"Mo never looked like he was in any trouble out there tonight," UW director of cross country and track & field Mick Byrne said. "He ran a very smart race without using up too much energy. There were a lot of big names in the race and Mo's experience and maturity helped him tonight. Michael ran a brave race sticking with the chase pack and just fell short over the last 800 meters. He's come a long way this year."
In the shot put, senior Danny Block barely missed the cut to go to Eugene, as the senior finished 13th with a throw of 59 feet, 3 3/4 inches on his third attempt of the day. A 2013 All-American in the shot put, Block will have another chance to vie for an NCAA championships bid as he competes in the discus on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The junior duo of Austin Mudd and Alex Hatz each advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1500 meters. Mudd finished second in his heat with a time of 3:43.66, while Hatz was fourth in the final section in 3:43.36. Mudd and Hatz will compete in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., with each looking for a second-consecutive bid to the NCAA championships.
"Mudd and Hatz did what we expected them to do today," Byrne said. "They both ran smart races and advanced with ease."
In his first NCAA competition, redshirt freshman Jesse Johnson finished tied for 20th in the pole vault with a clearance of 16-9 1/4. Also in his first NCAA action, freshman Carl Hirsch was 38th in the 800 meters in 1:52.84 while Ben Schreib placed 35th in the javelin with a mark of 196-3.
In the 400 meters, Babatunde Awosika was 41st in 47.74, while Zach Ziemek finished 46th in the long jump in 17-6 3/4.
Michael Lihrman will open competition for the Badgers on Friday with the hammer throw at 10 a.m. The first running event of the day is the men's 110 hurdles at 5 p.m.