ALLENDALE, MI (KWSN) - Augustana had four athletes in competition on the final day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and Aduo Omot emerged with his fourth career outdoor All-American honors to give the Vikings their third top-eight finish of the competition.
Omot has placed top-eight in all four of his outdoor 800-meter races, clocking a season-best on Saturday night to close his career with an eighth-place finish. The Worthington, Minn. native fought his way to a 1:50.26 time, closing his storied career with the Vikings.
“Seeing Aduo finish his career with an All-American honor was very exciting,” head coach Tracy Hellman said after Saturday’s competition. “It was a tough field and being top-eight is something he should be proud of.”
A former national champion in the 800-meter run, Omot collects the second All-American honor of his senior season after helping the Viking distance medley relay team to a sixth-place finish at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships. Omot swept the 2011 800-meter national titles, winning both indoor and outdoor national-meet races and finishes his career with seven total All-American finishes.
Kyle Blakeslee ran in the women’s 5,000-meter race, but she wasn’t able to duplicate her All-American finish in the women’s steeplechase from one day ago -- Blakeslee ran to a runner-up finish in the steeplechase while breaking her own school and South Dakota collegiate records and clocking the sixth-fastest time in Division II history. In the women’s 5k on Saturday, Blakeslee hung around with the top pack but she wasn’t able to keep pace and finished 16th with a time of 17:03.46.
“You can say so much about Kyle’s performances this weekend,” Hellman said. “She ran a tough 5k, but despite finishing outside of the scoring, she had a remarkable career for Augustana. She was a part of many great things for our program.”
Blakeslee finishes with seven All-American honors in her four years at Augustana. Her three national appearances in the steeplechase all finished with top-four finishes and she collected two more All-American honors as part of Augustana’s distance medley relay teams in 2012 and 2014. Blakeslee also collected All-American accolades twice in cross country, including an 18th-place time in 2011 that helped the Vikings to the national title.
Augustana had two athletes in the men’s and women’s 1,500-meter runs, but neither were able to record finishes high enough to garner All-American honors. Kristin Brondbo battled through a nagging Achilles-tendon injury to a ninth-place finish and time of 4:31.45 in the women’s race -- Brondbo’s injury forced her to withdraw from the women’s 5,000-meter run later in the evening. Henrik Hansson wasn’t able to break through for his first individual All-American honors in the men’s 1,500, finishing in 3:58.17 for 11th place.
“Although our 1,500 kids would have liked to place a bit higher,” Hellman said, “they had great careers and will leave Augustana with great accomplishment.”
Brondbo goes down in the Augustana record books as one of the top distance runners ever to don the blue and gold. The Steinkjer, Norway native earned four track All-American honors, including a third-place finish at the 2014 indoor championships in the 3,000-meter run. In cross country, Brondbo placed high enough at the national meet to garner All-American accolades in all four years which included her 15th-place finish as part of the 2011 national-championship squad and top-10 finishes each of the past two seasons.
Hansson never earned individual All-American honors in his career with Augustana, but the senior from Stromstad, Sweden ran the 800-meter leg of the Vikings’ 2012 NCAA Championship distance medley relay team and earned All-American honors this past season in the same event.
Scoring points in the men’s and women’s steeplechase and men’s 800-meter run, Augustana posted a pair of top-30 finishes. Behind Blakeslee’s runner-up finish, the women tied for 25th with eight points. Omot and Harald Karbo amassed seven points for the men, good enough for a 28th-place tie. St. Augustine’s ran away with the men’s team championship, scoring 112 points while Lincoln (Mo.) eked out the women’s team title with 64 points.
“It was another successful meet for Augustana Track,” Hellman said after the conclusion of the Vikings’ trip to the NCAA Championships. “I wouldn’t expect anything less from such a talented group of athletes.”
Courtesy: Augustana College