Wieland falls short of first; men’s team concludes season at NCAA Championships

Luca Wieland led the decathlon through the first five events before finishing in third.

Karim Nabhan and Jack White

The Gophers wrapped up their season this week in Eugene, Oregon
as seniors Nate Roese, Luca Wieland, Mitch Hechsel and sophomore Obsa Ali
competed in their final events of the year at the NCAA Championships.

Wieland, competing in the decathlon, fell just short of the
perfect ending in his final year with the Gophers.

Wieland — who led all decathletes through the first day —
finished third overall with a final score of 8,146, the second highest in
school history.

Wieland was ahead of the eventual first-place finisher,
Lindon Victor, by 91 points through the first five events. After leading the pack
in the high jump competition at 7 feet, 1 inch, as well as a second-place
finish in the 100 meters at 10.56 seconds, and a third-place finish in the long
jump at 25 feet, 1.75 inches.

Wieland started the second day of competition with a
sixth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles. He placed third in discus, before
two eighth-place finishes in the pole vault 
and 1,500 meters. Wieland also had an 18th-place finish in the javelin
event, as Victor defended his national championship that he won in 2016.

Ali made his debut in the NCAA Championships, running a 8:49
and earning a 14th-place finish. Ali earned his first All-American accolade in
the steeplechase event.

The junior said he had mixed feelings about his performance.

“I was disappointed with how I did in the finals,” Ali said.
“But I started [competing in] the steeple race this year.”

Roese capped his
career off with a 14th-place finish in the 800-meter semifinals. He earned
second-team All-American honors.

Hechsel finished 19th in the 800 meters with a time of
1:48.52. He ended his Gophers career
having won the 600-meter event twice.

Minnesota loses Roese, Wieland, Hechsel, Ali and two other
seniors to graduation next year.