Johnson and Winter Improve Upon Regional Rankings at NCAAs
May 26, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. - Junior distance runner Blake Johnson improved upon his regional ranking for the second-straight year, this time in the 10,000-meter run, to lead the Marquette University men's track and field team in Thursday's opening action at the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships West Preliminary Rounds in Eugene, Ore.
"We had a solid opening day of competition led by Blake Johnson and Kyle Winter," Marquette head track and field coach Bert Rogers said. "Blake ran pretty well, improved upon his regional ranking and was just a little off his personal best of 29:50."
Johnson ran a time of 30:05.28 to finish 31st in the men's 10,000 meters after entering the weekend's action ranked 39th in the West Region. The Saline, Mich., native also competed at the 2010 NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and placed 29th, well above his seed of 48.
Sophomore Kyle Winter was Marquette's first athlete to compete Thursday in the men's 800-meter run and ran his second-fastest time of the season to place 37th in 1:51.96. Winter entered the weekend 37th on the region's performance list.
"It was a great learning experience today for Kyle," Rogers said. "He has gotten stronger and stronger as the season has progressed and after really improving his standing at the BIG EAST Championships, he got to compete at a national competition and saw the tactical aspects of the races. He has learned a lot and is fired up about next year."
Nick Szczech joined Johnson in the men's 10,000 and placed 42nd in 30:59.68.
"Nick had a nice season, climbing many of our top-10 lists, but didn't finish the way he wanted this evening," Rogers said.
Friday's competition will kick off with senior Jamie Roth in the trials of the women's hammer throw at noon CT, where the top 16 throwers advance to the region's finals and the top 12 will then move onto Des Moines.
Freshman Bret Hardin will compete in the men's hammer throw at 5:30 p.m. CT.
The first round of the 200 will take place Friday at 8:10 p.m. CT, when Tyler O'Brien will take part in the fifth heat. The top three in each preliminary race, plus the next six fastest times will advance to the national quarterfinal at 4:50 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Live streaming video coverage of all days will be available, courtesy of GoDucks.com. The webcasts commence at 5 p.m. CT Friday and 3 p.m. CT on Saturday. Live results will also be provided by FlashResults.com.
* if athlete advances
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