Gopher track athletes complete weekend competition at NCAA’s

Multiple athletes hit career-bests in their events at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

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Courtesy of Gopher Athletics

Bethany Hasz competes at the University of Minnesota Track and Field stadium on Friday, April 30.

Michael Lyne

Basten shines for career-best – Friday, June 11

To kick things off for the Gophers on Friday, redshirt senior Alec Basten competed in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase finals, finishing as the national runner-up behind Middle Tennessee State University’s Kigen Chemadi after posting a career-best time of 8:29.03.

The Gophers veteran found himself running conservatively in the middle of the pack for much of the first half. Then around the 5:34 minute marker, he began to pick up the pace, throttling himself into the top three.

Basten stuck around at the front of the pack. For much of the second half of the race, he was neck and neck with Chemadi until the final water jump, where Chemadi started to pull away at the 8:05 marker.

As the final barrier approached, Basten was in second place. Then, however, Oklahoma State University’s Ryan Smeeton turned on the jets and passed Basten at the last steeplechase barrier. But Basten quickly regained second place as Smeeton could not stick the landing after his leap, allowing Basten to have a clear path toward a second-place finish.

Basten’s career-best 3,000-meter steeplechase of 8:29.03 is second all-time in Gophers history, only trailing 2018 NCAA Champion Obsa Ali’s time of 8:28:49.

The First-Team All-American will now have the opportunity to compete in this event in the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials as his time earned him qualification.

Outside of Basten, redshirt junior Kaleb Siekmeier and junior Phillipe Barnett competed for the Gophers in the men’s discus finals, finishing in 18th and 19th, respectively. They both missed the final cut to earn three extra throws.

Siekmeier’s best throw of the day came in the second round after he launched the discus 54.29 meters. This throw was the only one that counted for Siekmeier as he fouled out on throws one and three.

For Barnett, his best throw of the day was his last one as he tossed the discus 53.03 meters. His other throw lengths came in at 51.82 meters and 50.80 meters.

Hasz finishes career with personal best – Saturday, June 12

On Saturday, redshirt senior Bethany Hasz competed in the women’s 5,000-meter finals. She finished in third place after clocking her career-best time of 15:30.57, improving on her time as the Gophers program record holder.

The Gophers veteran started off her race conservatively as she stayed near the back of the pack until the 8:00 minute mark with six laps remaining, where she began to turn up the notches and throttle herself into the top ten.

Hasz continued to stick around, and with two laps to go, she found herself in the front of the pack alongside five other runners.

In the final turn of the race at the 15:00 minute mark, Hasz found herself in fourth place, but she quickly turned on the jets, speeding past Stanford University’s Julia Heymach to solidify third place.

North Carolina State University’s Elly Henes and University of Notre Dame’s Katie Wasserman finished just seconds before the redshirt senior.

Hasz will finish her Gophers career as a First-Team All-American after a stellar final campaign this year. She finished in the top eight at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and was the NCAA runner-up in the NCAA Indoor 5,000-Meters event.

Hasz’s redshirt senior counterpart Abby Kohut-Jackson competed in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase finals, clocking a time of 9:50.89 to end her Gophers career with an 11th place finish, and was named Second-Team All-American.

To round out Saturday’s events, freshman Shelby Frank made her NCAA Championships debut as she competed in the women’s discus finals, finishing in 16th place with her best throw of the day at 54.22 meters and earned Second-Team All-American honors. She recorded a 53.43-meter throw and a foul in the other two rounds of the competition after falling short of the final cut.

What’s up Next

The Gophers will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials on Friday, June 18, through Saturday, June 27, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.