Tegenkamp headed back to OlympicsJune 23, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- Turns out Matt Tegenkamp was written off a bit too soon.
Considered an underdog by many, the former University of Wisconsin standout responded with an outstanding effort Friday that has him headed back to the Olympic Games.
The 2005 UW graduate ran to an impressive runner-up finish in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials, clocking a time of 27 minutes, 33.94 seconds at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
The top-three finish means Tegenkamp, running for Oregon Track Club Elite, secured a spot on the U.S. national team for a second-consecutive Olympics. He ran for Team USA in the 5000 meters at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Tegenkamp’s time also came in under the previous U.S. Olympic trials record. Galen Rupp established a new meet record with his winning time of 27:25.33, while Dathan Ritzenhein took third in 27:36.09 to round out the U.S.’s entries for London.
Fellow UW alumnus Tim Nelson finished 14th in 28:15.11.
Tegenkamp becomes the second Wisconsin men’s athlete to qualify for multiple Olympic Games in track and field and will be the first to actually compete in two Olympiads. Steve Lacy qualified for both the 1980 and 1984 Games, but the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Now, if UW junior Mohammed Ahmed can secure a top-three finish at the Canadian Olympic trials on Wednesday, the Badgers will boast a pair of athletes in the 10,000 meters in London.
In all, Tegenkamp has qualified to represent the U.S. at five consecutive world-championship competitions. In addition to his back-to-back Olympics bids, he was a member of Team USA at the 2007, 2009 and 2011 IAAF World Championships.
The trio of Rupp, Ritzenhein and Tegenkamp broke away from the field with eight laps remaining in the 25-lap race, building what became a 50-meter cushion on the chase pack as the laps wound down.
Also Friday, the Badgers duo of Joe Detmer and David Grzesiak opened competition in the decathlon.
Detmer was predictably consistent and stands sixth halfway through the competition with a first-day score of 4,019 points. Grzesiak, in his first U.S. championships, ranks 16th after five events with his score of 3,586 points.
Detmer, a 2007 UW graduate, was boosted by a leap of 24 feet, 2 1/2 inches in the long jump -- just a centimeter off his lifetime-best mark -- and a throw of 43-3 in the shot put, a mark that matched his personal best in the event.
Ashton Eaton, who claimed the indoor heptathlon world title earlier this year, leads the field with a first-day total of 4,728. Reigning world champion Trey Hardee is second at 4,406, with defending Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay third at 4,252.
The decathlon resumes Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (CT), with Detmer and Grzesiak the lone athletes with UW ties set to compete on the second day of the Trials.