UW's Ziemek qualifies for world championships - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW's Ziemek qualifies for world championships

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EUGENE, Ore. -- Watch out world. Wisconsin’s Zach Ziemek is coming for you.
The senior broke the Big Ten record in the decathlon with a score of 8,107 points Friday to finish third at the 2015 USA Outdoor Championships and earn a spot on the U.S. team for the 2015 IAAF World Championships.
“Double Z” broke the conference record of 8,041 points set by Michigan State’s Paul Terek to not only qualify for the world championships in Beijing, China, but also eclipse the “A” qualifying standard for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That puts him in position to qualify for the Games if he can claim a top-three finish at next year’s USA Olympic Trials.
“We are all so proud of Ziemek’s performance,” UW Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Mick Byrne said. “The past two days he has elevated his game to new heights. I’m not sure any coach can ask much more from an athlete. To record four personal bests in just two days of competition, especially at a meet of this caliber, is just ‘Badger Tough.’
“Zach has worked so hard this year to make Team USA for the world championships, and to accomplish this goal is awesome. All Wisconsin track and field athletes should be proud of their teammate tonight.”
Despite soaring temperatures that heated Hayward Field to nearly 100 degrees, Ziemek set two lifetime bests during the final day of the 10-event competition, including a school-record clearance in the pole vault of 17 feet, 10 1/2 inches.
The Itasca, Illinois, native started the second day of the decathlon with a personal best of 14.78 seconds in the 110 hurdles to finish sixth in the event. After throwing the discus 122-3, the UW senior looked to gain big points in the pole vault, arguably his best event of the two-day competition.
Ziemek had first-attempt clearances on each of his first three bars before looking to get over at 17-6 1/2. He missed on his first two attempts but cleared the height on his final try to push the bar up to 17-10 1/2. Ziemek cleared that school-record height on his first attempt, breaking the Hayward Field decathlon pole vault record in the process.
The senior followed his vault by throwing 181-10 in the javelin to set up the final event of the night, the 1500 meters.
Needing a time of 5:04.60 to hit the world championships qualifying standard of 8,075 points, Ziemek ran a season-best 4:58.93 to earn his spot on Team USA.
The decathlon at the 2015 IAAF World Championships will start on Aug. 28.
Also Friday, incoming UW freshman Haley Showalter won the women’s hammer throw at the 2015 USA Junior Championships with throw of 185-8, marking the second-straight season the Highlands Ranch, Colorado, native claimed the U.S. junior title.
Showalter will now represent the U.S. at the 2015 Pan American Junior Championships, July 31 to Aug. 2, in Edmonton, Alberta.
UW freshman Banke Oginni finished 11th in the junior women’s shot put with a throw of 45-10.
Former Wisconsin standout Evan Jager, the American-record holder in the 3000 steeplechase, won the first semifinal section in 8:40.13 to advance to Sunday’s final in the event.
UW senior Deanna Latham will compete in the heptathlon Saturday and Sunday, beginning with the 100 hurdles at 1:05 p.m. (CT) Saturday. Junior Kelsey Card throws the discus at the senior championships at 2:45 p.m. and freshman Taylor Amann will compete in the junior women’s pole vault at 6:10 p.m.
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