May 17, 2012
• NCAA West Preliminary Round Qualifiers
MADISON, Wis. -- Good thing everything’s bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State is going to need plenty of room for all the Badgers set to head south next week.
The No. 9-ranked Wisconsin men’s track and field team will send 25 athletes to the 2012 NCAA West Preliminary Round next week in Austin after the NCAA unveiled its list of accepted entries for the meet Thursday.
The competition in Austin, which runs May 24-26 and serves as the opening round of the NCAA outdoor championships, is one of two preliminary-round meets. Schools in the East Region will send their athletes to compete in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Badgers will be represented by 26 total entries in 14 different events. In addition to those that will compete in the preliminary-round competition, Wisconsin also has qualified senior David Grzesiak and sophomore Japheth Cato directly to the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the decathlon.
In all other events, competitors will work to be among the top 12 athletes from each preliminary-round site that advance to the NCAA finals in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 6-9.
In all, UW boasts 10 entries seeded among the top 12 in their events, along with a pair of No. 13 seeds. Alex Brill, who owns the West Region’s No. 1 time in the 3000-meter steeplechase, is the Badgers’ top-seeded athlete. He advanced through the preliminary round last season to reach the NCAA championships as a freshman.
Reed Connor is the No. 3 seed in the 1500 meters, with teammate Rob Finnerty seeded fifth.
Sophomore Dan Block, a repeat qualifier, is the No. 5 seed in the discus, as well as the No. 13 seed in the shot put. He’s one of four UW athletes to qualify for the preliminary round in multiple events.
Alex Thompson is also seeded in advancement position at No. 12 in the discus.
UW’s school record-setting 4x400-meter relay team of Garret Payne, Brady Hammon, Kyle Jefferson and Drew Simmons holds the No. 7 seed with its time of 3:05.27. Jefferson (200 meters) and Payne (400 meters) also qualified in open events.
Fresh off winning the Big Ten title in the event, Mohammed Ahmed heads to Austin as the No. 8 seed in the 5000 meters. Teammate Dan Chenoweth is the No. 12 seed in the event.
In the 10,000 meters, junior Elliot Krause holds the No. 9 seed, with senior Ryan Collins seeded 11th.
Wisconsin has multiple qualifiers in nine events, including three each in the 5000 meters, 110-meter hurdles and high jump.
The preliminary-round model is in its third year. Wisconsin qualified 18 athletes for last year’s preliminary round in Eugene, Ore., and sent 23 athletes to Austin for the first preliminary round competition in 2010.
The NCAA previously utilized a four-region system for advancing athletes to the outdoor championships.