DES MOINES – Payton Otterdahl didn’t end his college career the way he wanted, finishing fourth in the men’s shot put at the NCAA outdoor championships. The Rosemount native wasn’t satisfied with where he ended up Friday, either: in sixth place at the U.S. championships.
Otterdahl, who won the NCAA indoor shot put title last winter in his final season at North Dakota State, faced a daunting field at Drake Stadium. He recovered from a poor start to make the eight-man final, then saved his best throw for last. His heave of 67 feet, 9¾ inches on his final attempt moved him up two spots to sixth, in a field loaded with 10 men ranked among the top 22 in the world.
Olympic gold medalist Ryan Crouser, No. 1 in the world, won with a Drake Stadium-record throw of 74-2½, an inch better than Joe Kovacs. Darrell Hill was third (72-6½).
“It wasn’t really how I wanted to perform,’’ Otterdahl said. “But to be able to come back and have my best throw at the end, after an already-not-great competition for me, that was all right.
“It was still a fun experience to go through it with the big dogs, in the best USA championships there’s ever been.’’
Abda makes 800 final
Harun Abda, a former Gophers runner from Fridley, finished fourth in his semifinal heat of the men’s 800 meters to advance to Sunday’s final. Abda clocked a time of 1 minute, 46.37 seconds, a season best and fourth-fastest of the semifinal round.
“I was trying to stay in the top three,’’ said Abda, a three-time Big Ten champion in the 600 meters. “But in the end, I got through [to the final]. That’s all that matters.’’
Abda has been competing in Europe in faster-paced races, which he said prepared him well for the championships.
Former Gophers thrower Sean Donnelly took fourth in the men’s hammer throw. Donnelly, who was third at nationals last year, threw 250 feet, 7 inches on his first attempt but could not top that mark. Conor McCullough won in a dramatic finish, throwing a stadium-record 256-4 on the final attempt of the competition.