The Minnesota Gophers Track and Field Teams completed the NCAA Championships last weekend and ended up bringing home a trio of top-3 finishes. Senior Alec Basten took home second place in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase continuing a Gopher legacy of success in that event. Freshman Kostas Zaltos finished in third place in the men’s hammer throw, and 5th year senior Bethany Hasz ended her collegiate career with a third place finish in the women’s 5,000 meters capping an epic super senior spring.
Basten would run a a career-best time of 8:29.03 finishing less than a second behind winner Kigen Chemadi of Middle Tennessee State. His time is the second fastest in program history behind only 2018 NCAA Champion Obsa Ali’s time 8:28:49. By finishing under 8:30, Basten will now join Ali in qualifying for the US Olympic Trials next week back in Eugene in the event!.
Zalton finsihed third place in the hammer throw on Wednesday. His throw of 71.21 meters was a personal best and is the second farthest throw in program history. He finshed only winner Thomas Mardal of Florida and Gleb Dudarev of Kansas in second.
Both Basten and Zaltos earned first team All-American honors for their performance. A third Gopher, Teddy Frid earned second team All-American honors after finishing in 14th place in the decathlon. Three other Gopher men earned All-American honorable mentions for their performances with 18th: Kaleb Siekmeier finishing 18th in the discus, Phillipe Barnett finishing 19th in the discus and Kyle Atkinson finishing 21st in shot put.
For the women it was Hasz who ended her collegiate career with a bang. She ran an outdoor career best time of 15:30:57 and improve on her own Minnesota program record. She finished only behind winner Elly Henes of North Carolina State and runner-up Katie Wasserman of Notre Dame. It caps of an incredible super senior spring for Hasz where besides her third place finish in this event she finished as the runner up in the 5,000 meters at the Indoor NCAA Championships and finished in 8th place and helped the Gopher team to a fifth place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
The Gopher women also earned three other second team All-American finishes with Abby Kohut-Jackson finishing in 11th place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the Gophers 4x400 relay team of Janielle Josephs, Val Larson, Jayla Campbell, and Abigail Schaaffe finishing in 12th place, and Shelby Frank finishing in 16th place in the discus. Tess Keyzers added an honorable mention All-American honor for finishing 21st in the hammer throw. With Hasz’s finish the Gopher women finished in 40th place overall as a team.
The focus now moves to the US Olympic Trials next week back in Eugene. Minnesota will potentially have several current and former athletes represented in trying to qualify for Tokyo including Ben Blankenship in the 1,500 meters, Obsa Ali and Basten in the 3,000 meter steeple chase, and others to be named. We will have a full preview of those trials coming up.