Obleman leads U in Sea Rays

Allison Younge

Gophers distance runner Rick Obleman ran to a third-place finish Saturday in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase at the Sea Rays Relays in Knoxville, Tenn.
Obleman became the Gophers’ top place-winner at the Sea Rays and provisionally qualified for the NCAA championships in the Steeplechase with a time of 8:52.49. Obleman finished third last year in the Big Ten outdoor championships with a time of 9:09.57. Saturday’s time shows considerable improvement.
Chad Yenchesky and Jason Schlueter added NCAA provisional qualifying marks at the Sea Rays.
Yenchesky, a junior, placed fourth in the shot put with a throw of 57 feet, 9 inches. This mark provisionally qualified him for the third time this season.
Yenchesky initially qualified three weeks ago at the Raleigh Relays with a toss of 58-4 3/4, and again at the Texas Relays throwing 58-3 1/4. This weekend’s fourth-place performance marks the lowest of his NCAA provisional throws.
Schlueter earned his second provisional mark with a 184-foot, 2-inch toss in the discus. Schlueter, a senior, initially qualified at the Texas Relays with a throw of 191-0.
The Gophers’ 4×400 sprint medley relay team also placed fourth at the Sea Rays with a time of 3:26.50.
Minnesota currently claims two NCAA automatic outdoor qualifiers and four provisional qualifiers. Sophomore Vesa Rantanen met the NCAA’s demands after breaking the Gophers’ all-time pole vault record last weekend at the Texas Relays with a mark of 18-5 1/4. Freshman high jumper Steffan Strand also qualified last weekend, after finishing second in the high jump with a mark of 7-4 1/2. Rantanen and Strand did not make the trip to Tennessee with the team.
Gophers provisional qualifiers include Obleman, Yenchesky, Schlueter and Tye Harvey. Harvey, a senior, qualified with a sixth-place finish in the pole vault at the Texas Relays. His vault was 17-7 1/4.