After a strong first day at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Wisconsin continued its success in Eugene, Oregon, on Friday. Led by juniors Michael Lihrman and Zach Ziemek, Wisconsin jumped to fourth in the team standings with 16 points.
Lihrman earned All-American honors and broke his own Big Ten record in the hammer throw with an attempt of 233 feet, 9 inches, contributing six points to the Badgers' total. That was his second throw of the competition, and the Rice Lake, Wisconsin, native trailed only Oklahoma State's Nick Miller, who had a throw of 237-6.
"I couldn't be much happier. I was sick the past week and was trying to recover before today," Lihrman said. "I recovered enough and the adrenaline really helped. I had a PR and I couldn't be much happier."
Kent State's Matthias Tayala soon took the lead with a throw of 241-4, and though Lirhman was able to respond with a throw beyond 236 feet, he was called for a foul and settled for third behind Tayala and Miller.
Still, Lihrman became just the fourth Badger to earn All-American honors in the hammer, and the first since 1931.
"I fouled my last one, just barely," Lihrman said. "The throw felt pretty good, and I can't wait for the USA championships in a few weeks."
"He put it all the line today," UW director of track and field and cross country Mick Byrne said of Lihrman. "He arguably had the best series among all the competitors with four throws over 70 meters. He did a great job and today he was third. Losing to those guys, Tayala and Miller, is nothing to be ashamed of. Those two are great athletes and competitors, as is Michael.
"He's had a heck of a year this year and for him to take third today is awesome."
Later on, Ziemek finished fifth in the decathlon, earning All-American honors and a fifth-place finish. He also unseated Joe Detmer atop Wisconsin's all-time decathlon list with 7,981 points in the 10-disciple event, toppling Detmer's 7,963 in 2007.
Despite nabbing his third All-American honor, "Double Z" was hoping for more.
"I'm a little disappointed where I placed in the standings, but I can't complain as I got a school record today," Ziemek said. "There's been some great multi athletes here, and to get the record is sweet."
Georgia's Maicel Uibo won the decathlon with a score of 8,182 points, while defending champion Johannes Hock of Texas was second with 8,092. Oregon's Dakotah Keys won the 1,500 meters to finish third at 8,068 while Georgia's Garrett Scantling finished fourth ahead of Ziemek with 7,984 points.
"Double Z had a heck of a meet," Byrne said. "He was almost perfect across the board and you can't ask for more than that. Going into the last event he was in the mix. It ended with the 1500 meters, a grueling event which seems to be his Achilles heel. I'm sure he will learn from it and will come back with a vengeance."