The NCAA Championships Begin Wednesday in Eugene, Oregon
The NCAA Track and Field Championships will bring a close to the Minnesota Gophers 2021-22 season this weekend in Eugene, Oregon. Minnesota has 11 entries in the field, four on the men’s side and seven on the women’s. The 11 entries in the NCAA Championships field is the same as in 2021 and is the most since 18 went in 2018. The top 24 entries in the nation are in the field. The top 12 times/distances from the NCAA East Regional and the NCAA West Regional advanced to this weekend’s Championships.
The Gophers will kick off action with the men’s track semifinals on Wednesday and one field final. It will feature the three Gophers with the best chance at a NCAA Championship. Starting off Minnesota will be Big Ten Champion Kostas Zaltos in the men’s hammer throw final. He finished in third place a season ago and has the third longest throw in the nation this season. After the first three throws the top nine throwers from the field of 24 will advance to the finals.
Later Wednesday will be the semifinals of the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase. That race will feature a pair of Gophers in Mathew Wilkinson and Alec Basten. Wilkinson is a two-time d3 champion in the event at Carleton and transferred to Minnesota this season. He had the fastest qualifying time in the field. Joining him is 5th year senior Alec Basten who finished second in this event a season ago. He has the third fastest qualifying time in the field. Both Wilkinson and Basten will take place in the second semifinal heat. The top five finishers from each heat and the next two fastest times will advance to Friday’s Finals.
Thursday will be the semifinals and one field final for the Gopher women. Tess Keyzers gets the action started in the women’s hammer throw final. Just like the men the field of 24 throwers will be cut to nine after the first three throws for the finals.
The Gopher women will have a trio of semifinals Thursday afternoon. First off is the Gophers 4×100 meter relay. Minnesota will run in the first of three semifinals with the top two teams in each heat and the two next fastest times advancing to Saturday’s finals.
Next up will be Abigail Schaaffe in the women’s 400 meter hurdles semifinals. Schaaffe will go in heat three of the semifinals with the top two finishers from each heat and the next two fastest times advancing to the finals.
Finally the Gophers 4×400 relay semifinals will go. They will run in heat one of three with, you guessed it the top two teams and the next two fastest times advancing to Saturday’s final.
Friday is finals day for the men. Kaleb Siekmeier will throw in the men’s discus for the Gophers to open the day. Just like the hammer throw the field of 24 will be cut to the top9 for the finals after three throws and each finalist will get three more. Following that will me the 3,000-meter steeplechase finals featuring hopefully both Wilkinson and Basten.
Saturday is finals day for the women. The Gophers start the day with Nyalaam Jok in the high jump. She has the 8th highest jump in the nation this season. Running nearly concurrently with the high jump will be Shelby Frank in the women’s discus final. She has the 5th longest throw in the nation this season.
The track finals get underway later in the day with hopefully the 4×100 relay, Schaaffe in the 400 hurdles and the 4×400 relay advancing. Minnesota is guaranteed one track final on Saturday no matter what as Gopher distance running legend Bethany Hasz goes for one final race in the maroon and gold in the women’s 5,000-meter final where she finished in third place a year ago.
The full schedule of Gopher events is below along with TV information:
4:00 p.m. CT – Men’s hammer final: Kostas Zaltos— Stream on ESPN3.
7:02 p.m. CT – Men’s 3000m Steeple semifinal: Alec Basten, Matt Wilkinson—ESPN2
5:00 p.m. CT – Women’s hammer final: Tess Keyzers—Stream on ESPN3
7:32 p.m. CT – Women’s 4x100m Relay semifinal—ESPNU
9:30 p.m. CT – Women’s 400m Hurdles semifinal: Abigail Schaaffe—ESPNU
10:48 p.m. CT – Women’s 4x400m Relay semifinal—ESPNU
7:35 p.m. CT – Men’s discus final: Kaleb Siekmeier—Stream on ESPN3
8:24 p.m. CT – Men’s 3000m Steeple final—ESPN2
4:00 p.m. CT – Women’s high jump final: Nyalaam Jok—Stream on ESPN3
4:05 p.m. CT – Women’s discus final: Shelby Frank—Stream on ESPN3
4:32 p.m. CT – Women’s 4x100m Relay final-ESPN
5:57 p.m. CT – Women’s 400m Hurdles final: -ESPN
6:25 p.m. CT – Women’s 5000m final: Bethany Hasz-ESPN
6:51 p.m. CT – Women’s 4x400m Relay final-ESPN
Good luck to all the Gophers competing this weekend!