May 30, 2014
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Wisconsin junior Michael Lihrman admitted he wasn’t at a 100 percent while competing in the hammer throw at the NCAA West Preliminary Round on Friday.
But the Rice Lake, Wisconsin, native powered his way through the adversity, finishing third with a heave of 223 feet, 1 inch to advance to the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, next month.
“Michael was a little dinged up after the Big Ten meet,” UW director of track and field and cross country Mick Byrne said. “He missed some reps last week, and you could see in the first round he was a little off his game.
“In the final, there were a lot of big guys throwing, including Michael, and he responded and advanced to Eugene. Mission accomplished.”
“I feel like I did really well today all things considered,” Lihrman said. “It’s usually hard to throw consistent marks after not getting as many reps as I’m used to. But I was able to shake the rust off and still have a great performance today."
Lihrman advanced to the semifinals after a heave of 216-1 on his second throw. After a couple of fouls, Lihrman capped off his day with his best throw of the competition at 223-1.
“During warmups I had some big throws as well as some big throws that I fouled,” Lihrman said. "I definitely had 70-plus meters in me today, but I couldn’t get one out there today.
“I’m looking forward to training next week and I feel I will be in better shape health-wise heading into the NCAA meet.”
Oklahoma State’s Nick Miller had the best throw of the competition with a toss of 234-1, while Oregon’s Greg Skipper was second with a mark of 225-1.
It marks the second time Lihrman will compete at an NCAA meet, as the junior won the weight throw at the NCAA indoor championships earlier this season.
UW junior Scott Erickson finished 35th in the hammer with a best of 190-2.
Alex Brill also advanced to the NCAA championships for the third time in his career, as the senior earned one of the final spots to Eugene in the 3000 steeplechase after finishing fifth in his heat in 8:47.59.
The top three finishers from each heat of the steeplechase automatically moved on, but Brill clocked the second-fastest time outside the nine automatic qualifiers to grab one of the three at-large spots and advance.
Brill started off in the lead and remained near the front until the final 200 meters, when Drake’s Rob McCann and Washington State’s Andrew Gonzales came from behind to knock Brill out of the top three. Only a second separated second through fifth, which helped Brill move on.
“Alex was aggressive early in the race and put himself in position to advance,” Byrne said. “I’m happy that he will extend his senior season and compete in another NCAA meet.”
Senior Collin Taylor, in his final meet as a Badger, barely missed the cut in the men’s high jump. The senior finished tied for 13th with a clearance of 6-11 1/2. That matched Noah Kittelson of Arkansas, but Kittelson took the 12th and final qualifying spot on the criteria of fewer misses in the competition.
On the women’s side, senior Laura McGinnis ended her UW career by soaring 39-7 3/4 in the triple jump to place 30th.
Angela Boushea opens up action for UW Saturday in the women’s hammer throw at 10 a.m. Danny Block and Alex Thompson will compete in the men’s discus at 3 p.m.
On the track, Alex Hatz and Austin Mudd, along with Molly Hanson, will compete in the quarterfinals of the 1500 meters. Mohammed Ahmed and Reed Connor will run in the 5000 meters and the Badgers will field a team in the men’s 4x400 relay.