EUGENE, Ore. -- It lacked the fireworks of his effort indoors, but Wisconsin’s Danny Block left the track Wednesday an All-American once again.
The UW senior threw 61 feet, 11 3/4 inches to take a sixth-place finish in the shot put on the opening day of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field, earning the second All-America award of his career.
Block hit his mark on the second of his three throws in Flight 1 of the event, and the performance stood up to have him third in the standings heading into the nine-man final. He slid three spots over the final three rounds of throws before matching the effort of 61-11 3/4 on his last attempt.
By then, though, his spot on the podium had already been secured.
“I thought it would barely get me into finals,” Block said of his throw. “It kind of placed me higher than I thought.
“It was a nice cushion going into finals, but I wasn’t able to build off of it.”
The subdued reaction stood in contrast to the emotions that erupted from Block after he threw 65-7 1/2 to take third at the NCAA indoor championships in March.
“I’m happy now ,” he said, “but I was on top of the world indoors.”
Block now looks to build on his late-season momentum ahead of the USA outdoor championships later this month.
“I have something to build off of in the future,” he said. “Throw farther, go to USAs, hopefully place there in both discus and shot.
“I’ve got a little fire in me now.”
While Block got the Badgers on the board in terms of team points, one of his teammates was putting himself in position to score when the decathlon concludes Thursday.
Lifetime bests in a pair of events carried sophomore Zach Ziemek to the best first-day score of his career, a total of 4,112 points that has him in sixth place halfway through the 10-event competition.
He opened in a flash, running out of the first heat of the 100 meters and winning the event with a personal-best effort of 10.59 seconds that was aided slightly by the breeze at his back.
After a solid -- but less than stellar -- leap of 23 feet, 10 inches in the long jump, Ziemek slid back to fifth place in the standings. He dipped further, to eighth, after recording a throw of 41-8 in the shot put.
Ziemek found a groove in the high jump, however. He vaulted back up the standings, to sixth, with an outdoor personal-best clearance at 6-8 3/4 that ranked him fourth in the 24-man field.
He opened at 6-2 3/4 and cleared easily on his first attempt, a process he repeated at 6-5 and 6-6 1/4. It took two attempts to get over 6-7 1/2 -- and set a new outdoor best in the process -- but he followed with another first-attempt clearance at 6-8 3/4 before finally going out when the bar moved to 6-9 3/4.
He closed out the best first day of his young career with a solid effort of 50.70 in the 400 meters.
Junior Alex Brill saw his season come to an end when he was unable to advance through the semifinals of the 3000 steeplechase. The Big Ten champion finished eighth in his section in 8:52.37 and clocked in at 14th overall.