Men’s track and field team qualifies four for NCAA championships

Mitch Hechsel, Nate Roese, Obsa Ali, and Luca Wieland will compete in Eugene, Oregon on June 7.

by Jack Warrick

For four Minnesota athletes, the track and field season will continue in Eugene, Oregon on June 7.

Mitch Hechsel, Nate Roese, Obsa Ali, and Luca Wieland all made the cut for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships after the West preliminary round in Austin, Texas concluded on Saturday night.

“We had some good things, particularly, the first two days,” said head coach Steve Plasencia. “We were really pleased with the way we were qualifying things through.”

To qualify for the NCAA championships, an athlete or team need to finish in the top-12 of all the competitors in their event.

Hechsel and Roese both qualified in the 800-meter event with personal records at the meet in Austin. Hechsel came in seventh with a 1:50.16 while Roese came in 10th at 1:50.52.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Roese said. “I definitely knew I had to [set a personal record] and be prepared to make it to the next round.”

Ali qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event. Ali had only ran the event twice in the season, but he qualified for the NCAA championships by finishing in sixth place with a 8:51.20.

Wieland did not qualify for any events at the regional meet, but he had an automatic qualification in the decathlon event, as the athletes with the top-24 marks in the decathlon get automatic bids. His decathlon score on the season puts him in third among qualifiers in the event.

The 4X100 meter dash relay team, consisting of Wieland, Jonathan Webb, Brad Neumann and Jordan Charles, did not make it to the NCAA championships with the team’s time coming in 16th overall. The relay team did break the Gophers’ program record with a time of 39.80 seconds.

“We’ll go with four guys to the national meet,” Plasencia said. “I’m really happy for those guys, especially three of them being seniors.”