Gopher thrower Aaron Studt notched the top finish of the North Star State contingent at the Finishline USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships this afternoon. Studt finished third in the shot put competition with a 61-3 toss. The Gopher sophomore-to-be missed earning a spot on the Pan Am Games junior squad by a mere 1 1/2 inch.
Edina's Alex Gits finished 4th in the women's 3000m in 9:50.00.
B.J. Otto finished 8th in the long jump with 22-5 1/4.
Halfmilers Andy Richardson of Irondale and Zach Mellon of Buffalo did not advance to the finals of the 800m, running 1:51.74 and 1:51.87 in separate heats.
Studt led the competition through two rounds after his opening throw of 61-0 1/2. Nicholas Robinson of UCLA moved ahead of Studt with a 61-4 1/4 throw in the third round and the appropriatedly named Michael Putman moved ahead of both of them with his winning 61-7 1/2 heave on his last attempt. Studt improved to 61-3 on his final throw, but it wasn't enough to gain a spot for for Pan Ams.
"My second throw I had a really big foul; it was probably 66-feet-plus, but I couldn't keep it in, " Studt said. "It's been awhile since I've thrown, it's been since regionals. I've had to practice on my own because I've been at home working a little bit. I kind of have to decide whether I want to lift or throw everyday."
Gits was part of a large lead pack in the 3000 that turned 400s of 81, 77, 77, 77 leading to a 5:12 opening mile. Nicole Blood of Oregon broke the field apart with a kilometer to go, but Gits outfought the runners around her in the final laps to notch 4th. Her 9:50 3000 equates, roughly, to a 10:34 3200m.
Otto, who spent his senior track season stalking Von Shepard's 24-9 1/4 state high school all-time best in the long jump, cold only muster 22-5 1/4 today.
"My legs felt all right and I thought I was ready to go," Otto offered, "I think I might be, toward the end of the season, getting a little burned out. I tried to stay positive as much as I could but it was just not there today.
On the Shepard record that he knows as intimately as anyone but Shepard himself, Otto was respectful.
"It's really out there. It's hard for anyone to beat it, so I'm just pleased that I could get so close to it." Otto jumped 24-4 1/4 last year and had a best of 24-8 3/4 this year.
Richardson and Mellon missed advancing to finals in the 800m by .11 and .24, respectively. Richardson, well-known back home for his aggressive early pacing, found himself in last place at 200 -- albeit at 27.1 -- and only put himself into the thick of his prelim field in the final 200. He split 27.1, 27.7 (54.8) 29.0, 28.0 (57.0) to finish 4th in his heat. The time is just .14 slower that his 1:51.6o, #5 all-time state prep mark from the Class AA prelims at State.
Mellon split 27.0, 27.8 (54.8), 28.3, 28.8 (57.1) in his 6th place prelim finish here. Mellon's mark, a personal best, moved him to #8 on the Minnesota prep all-time list in the event.
Look for a recap of tonights' evening events tomorrow morning. You can find live results for the junior and senior meets HERE.