Gophers men’s and women’s track and field athletes punch tickets to the NCAA Championships

Fourteen Gophers qualified for the NCAA Championships

Redshirt sophomore Rachel Schow clears a hurdle on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at the Field House. The Gophers competed against several other colleges at the Jack Johnson Classic Track Meet.

Chris Dang, Daily File Photo

Redshirt sophomore Rachel Schow clears a hurdle on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at the Field House. The Gophers competed against several other colleges at the Jack Johnson Classic Track Meet.

Michael Lyne

Ten individual Gophers track and field athletes and one relay team qualified for the NCAA National Championships in Bryan-College Station, Texas, at the NCAA Western Preliminary held May 26-29.

Wednesday, May 26

Redshirt freshmen throwers Kostas Zaltos and Kyle Atkinson lead the Gophers men’s track and field team on day one Wednesday to become the first Gophers to qualify for the NCAA Championships. 

Zaltos recorded his career-best toss of 70.99 meters in the hammer throw that earned him a second-place finish, improving his mark at second in Gophers history, while Atkinson secured a top 12 qualifying position after placing 11th in the shot put with a throw of 19.03 meters.

Friday, May 28

On Friday, junior Phillipe Barnett and redshirt juniors Kaleb Siekmeier and Tess Keyzers punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships alongside Zaltos and Atkinson. 

Barnett and Siekmeier earned placements in the top 12 of the men’s discus to secure qualifying positions. 

Barnett finished in third with a throw of 58.48 meters, while Siekmeier took 11th with a distance of 56.38. 

As the women’s hammer throw competition concluded Friday, Keyzers finished in 11th place with a throw of 61.70 meters to secure a top 12 qualifying position. 

Saturday, May 29

Multiple Gophers, including one relay team, qualified for the NCAA Championships as the NCAA Western Preliminary came to an end on Saturday. 

Gophers Big Ten 3,000-meter steeplechase champions redshirt seniors Abby Kohut-Jackson and Alec Basten advanced to the NCAA Championships as automatic qualifiers. 

Kohut-Jackson placed second in her heat and third overall with a time of 9:46.96, expanding on her own Gophers program record time to secure a spot at the national meet, while Basten won his heat and finished eighth overall with a time of 8:40.14. 

Big Ten 10,000-meter champion and 5,000-meter runner-up redshirt senior Bethany Hasz qualified for the championships after placing fourth in her heat with a time of 16:00.44 and placing eighth overall. She will make her return to the national meet after finishing as the runner-up in this year’s NCAA indoor competition.

Freshman Shelby Frank will represent the Gopher women at the championships after throwing the discus a distance of 54.61 meters, just shy of her career-best of 54.65, to finish in 12th place. 

Graduate Student Teddy Frid completes the list of individual national qualifiers for the Gophers as he will compete in the decathlon. 

Alongside the individual qualifiers, the Gophers women’s 4×400-meter relay team of redshirt senior Val Larson, sophomores Jayla Campbell and Janielle Josephs and freshman Abigail Schaaffe, who also won the 4×400-meter relay title, complete the Gophers’ national qualifiers after they placed 12th, respectively.

What’s up next

The qualifying Gophers will compete in the NCAA Division One Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which will be underway from Wednesday, June 9 through Saturday, June 12 in Eugene, Oregon.