The Missouri track and field team advanced three athletes Thursday at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Chris Rohr, Krishna Lee and Brian Hancock all will compete in the finals of their events this afternoon in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“We’re doing fantastic, we’re proud of what we’re doing out here and how we’re going about it,” Tigers associate head coach Brett Halter said by phone Thursday evening. “We’re out here competing against the top athletes in the country and we’re just really excited as a coaching staff how our athletes are doing.”
Hancock, who last year became Missouri’s first All-American in the pole vault since 1958, advanced to today’s pole vault final by going 5.25 meters (17 feet, 2.75 inches).
Seniors Krishna Lee and Chris Rohr both advanced in the hammer throw. Lee competes in the women’s finals at 11 a.m., and Rohr is in the men’s finals at 1 p.m.
Rohr advanced on just one throw in the preliminary round. On his first attempt, Rohr threw 225-2 (68.63 meters) to automatically qualify for the finals and is in the third overall spot going into the championship round.
Lee advanced to the finals on her second attempt in the preliminary round with a throw of, 200-5 (61.08 meters), earning the sixth overall spot in the finals. Rohr and Lee didn’t compete in the hammer throw event until they reached the college level.
“It is really exciting for Chris and Krishna, because the athletes they are up against have a few years of experience on them, and that’s a big deal in this sport, and for them to be right there in contention is a special thing,” Halter said.
The team’s success has not surprised the athletes or the coaching staff.
“That’s what we’re here to do, we expected success and they (Rohr, Lee, and Hancock) didn’t expect to be sitting on the sidelines during finals,” Halter said.
Former Hickman star, Kaela Rorvig is 23rd in the heptathlon event after Thursday’s competition. The heptathlon will resume at 1:45 p.m. today with three events left to go. Shannon Leinert, just missed advancing to the finals in the women’s 800-meter run. She ran a 2:06.54 for 19th, just one spot from making the two-heat finals.
A year after a surprising run to nationals as a freshman, Lars Rise finished fifth in the decathlon with 7,776 points to become an All American for the second time.
The meet, which is four days long, will conclude Saturday.