July 6, 2012
• NACAC Under-23 Championships (Spanish)
MADISON, Wis. -- A pair of All-Americans headline the group of athletes from the Wisconsin men’s and women’s track and field teams that will head south this weekend to represent the Red, White and Blue.
Senior Jessica Flax, junior Elliot Krause and sophomore Alex Brill each will compete for Team USA at this weekend’s 2012 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships in Irapuato, Mexico.
The three-day competition gets underway Friday at the Paralympic Track Stadium, with the bi-annual event featuring athletes from age 20-22 representing 32 different nations with in the NACAC region.
Wisconsin will be represented at the NACAC championships for the third-consecutive meet. Former Badger -- and 2012 Olympian -- Gwen Jorgensen won gold in the 5000 meters at the 2008 meet in Toluca, Mexico, while current UW senior Dorcas Akinniyi scored a silver medal in the heptathlon at the 2010 event in Miramar, Fla.
A major challenge for the competitors this weekend will be dealing with the effects of altitude. Irapuato sits at an elevation of 5,676 feet in central Mexico.
Flax enters the meet less than a week removed from her 12th-place finish at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials. The Big Ten champion and an All-American in the heptathlon in each of her final two outdoor seasons with the Badgers, Flax carries a personal-best (and school-record) score of 5,826 points into the NACAC meet.
The heptathlon begins at 5 p.m. (CT) Friday with the 100-meter hurdles, followed by the high jump, shot put and 200 meters. The competition resumes at 5:05 p.m. Saturday with the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.
Krause will make his second international appearance of the year for Team USA when he toes the line in the men’s 10,000 meters at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The All-American, who finished sixth in the 10,000 at the NCAA outdoor championships last month, won a bronze medal for the U.S. at the 2012 NACAC Cross Country Championships in March.
Krause owns a lifetime-best mark of 28 minutes, 43.34 seconds in the 10,000 and has run a best of 28:59.71 this season en route to his runner-up finish at the Big Ten championships in May.
Brill enjoyed a breakout as a sophomore in 2012, recording the No. 7 all-time mark in UW history with his run of 8:37.62 to score a fifth-place finish in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Big Ten outdoor championships. That effort had Brill ranked No. 1 in the NCAA West Region heading into the NCAA West Preliminary Round, where he finished 20th.
Brill was an NCAA outdoor championships qualifier in the steeplechase as a redshirt freshman in 2010.
The Madison native will compete in the steeplechase at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.