The University of Minnesota saw its second national runner-up finish of the 2022-23 athletic year with redshirt junior Kostas Zaltos earning the silver medal in the men’s hammer throw. The Greek national earned his third NCAA medal in his third season with the Gophers.  The event is taking place in Austin, Texas, at Mike A Myers Stadium.

Along with Zaltos’ national runner-up finish the Gophers also earned big-time points in the men’s hammer throw with Jake Kubiatowicz finishing sixth in the nation in his first trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The St. Paul, Minn., native launched three personal bests to finish sixth with his final mark of 72.40m (237-6).

In one of the greatest NCAA hammer throw competitions in history Zaltos launched a final mark of 76.33m (250-5) to improve on his back-to-back bronze medal finishes in 2021 and 2022. Zaltos’ mark not only breaks his own school record he set earlier this season but it goes down as the Big Ten record in the event, passing Michael Lihrman of Wisconsin (75.29m | 247-0). Zaltos’ is now the No. 13 performer in NCAA history in the event and still has at least one season of eligibility remaining.

“I gave 110 percent… my coach is proud and I am proud,” Zaltos said after his performance.

The 3000m steeplechase was once again kind to the Maroon and Gold at the NCAA Championships, this year Matt Wilkinson returning to the collegiate final with the No. 2 time in the semifinals at 8:35.69. The returning First Team All-American led for the latter half of the semifinal race and will look to improve on his eighth-place finish in 2022.

Wednesday night was kicked off with Minnesota’s 4x100m relay team with the team of Carlon Hosten, Kion Benjamin, Finn Schirmer and Devin Augustine posting a new school record of 38.70 to finish fourth in the first heat. The time, one of the fastest in Big Ten history, was not enough to advance the Golden Gophers to their first NCAA final in the event, finishing 10th and missing a time qualifying spot by 0.06 seconds. The team, who claimed a Big Ten championship earlier this season, ends their campaign as the first 4x100m relay at Minnesota to earn All-America status as members of the Second Team.

A short time later Benjamin, who ran the second leg of the 4x100m relay, put his best foot forward in his first NCAA semifinal. The Trinidad & Tobago national dropped a season-best 10.09 (+1.3 m/s) to finish fourth in his heat. Benjamin was unable to advance on his time, finishing 14th overall and just 0.05 behind the final time qualifier. Benjamin, who is a two-time Big Ten champion, concludes his incredible year as the top NCAA finisher from the Big Ten conference and the first All-American in school history in the event as a member of the Second Team.

Ending an incredible comeback season was Carlon Hosten in the 200m, finishing 20th overall in a time of 20.55. The Trinidad & Tobago national finishes his season as a two-time All-American in the 4x100m relay and the 200m and will return for the 2024 campaign.

In his first season at the Division I level Michael Buchanan was unable to finish his 110m hurdles race. The junior clipped the first hurdle and was unable to overcome it and pulled out of the race after three hurdles. The Jamaican national will return next season as a Honorable Mention All-American in his first season with the Maroon and Gold.

Kostas Zaltos

(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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