June 24, 2012
• USA Olympic Trials Results
EUGENE, Ore. -- Ashton Eaton put on a show for the ages Saturday at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials, but former Wisconsin athlete Joe Detmer continued to show that age is just a number.
Five years after finishing runner-up in his Badgers finale at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships, and despite a part-time training schedule, Detmer secured his best-ever finish in a U.S. championship event.
Detmer came home fourth in the decathlon at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials, totaling 7,931 points over the course of the two-day competition at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Eaton, competing on his home track, racked up a world-record score of 9,039 points to win the event, with Trey Hardee (8,383 points) taking second to also secure a spot on the U.S. team for the London Olympics. Former Florida athlete Gray Horn finished just ahead of Detmer in third with a score of 7,954.
Wisconsin senior David Grzesiak, making his debut in a U.S. championship event, closed out his UW career by taking 13th place with a score of 7,009 points -- finishing fourth among collegians in the field.
Detmer opened the second day of competition on a high note with a run of 14.92 seconds in the 110 hurdles and closed just as strongly by finishing runner-up to Eaton in the 1500 meters at 4:14.77. Detmer formerly held the world record in the indoor heptathlon 1000 meters, a record topped by Duke’s Curtis Beach in March. Beach finished third behind Eaton and Detmer in the 1500 Saturday.
In between the running events, Detmer used a strong performance in the pole vault -- clearing 16 feet, 3/4 inches to finish just a centimeter off his lifetime-best mark in the event --to jump to fifth in the standings.
The performance bumped Detmer to fifth in the standings and left him just 118 points out of the all-import third position through eight events. The top three finishers are eligible for Team USA, dependent upon achieving the Olympic Games qualifying standard of 8,200 points.
While third place was a possibility, the Olympic standard was out of reach -- even considering Detmer’s point-scoring potential in the 1500 meters.
Still, Detmer’s fourth-place finish has him positioned to make Team USA once again for the Thorpe Cup, an annual decathlon event that pits the U.S. against Germany. Detmer won the event in 2010 and was the runner-up last year.
UW has no entries in Sunday’s events at the Olympic Trials, but a trio of former Badgers will compete Monday. Evan Jager looks to make the U.S. team in the 3000-meter steeplechase, while Matt Tegenkamp is scheduled to return to the track in the 5000 meters after already making Team USA in the 10,000 meters. Darren Niedermeyer also is set for the qualifying round of the men’s pole vault.