Record-breaking UWM hurdler to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team

One of UWM’s most decorated athletes is competing this weekend with the shot of a lifetime – a chance to make the U.S. Olympic team.

Natalie Block, who holds a slew of school records and other honors, will be participating in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 100-meter hurdles beginning on Friday, June 28, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Block graduated last month with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences-radiologic technology.

After qualifying for the Olympic Trials in late May at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds with a time of 13.23, she will now take on a field of 29 others from throughout the country vying for a spot on the U.S. Olympic roster for the Summer Olympics in Paris beginning next month.

Natalie Block

Block’s initial run will come on Friday, when she is scheduled to compete in the second heat of the 100-meter hurdle preliminary round. The opening heat of the event is scheduled to start at 7:23 p.m. Central time, with broadcast coverage on USA Network and streaming online on Peacock.

The top six from each of the four total heats, along with the next three fastest times, will advance to the semifinals, taking place on Saturday at 7:04 p.m. (CT), available on NBC and streaming on Peacock, before the finals will commence on Sunday at 7 p.m. (CT), on both NBC and Peacock.

Block had previously qualified to compete at the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles earlier this month in Eugene, but an injury sustained during a training session leading up to the event forced her to withdraw from the event.

“With the ankle injury Natalie sustained at the NCAA Championships, we were not sure if we had the time to get her healthy enough to compete,” UWM track and field coach Andrew Basler said. “However, the amount of progress she made the past three weeks to be able to compete is a testament to the work and guidance of our head athletic trainer, Aaron Haselhorst. A lot of credit also goes to Natalie, herself, for her commitment to doing everything possible to heal her injury.”

Block had also qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 400-meter hurdles, having reached the qualifying mark with a time of 57.68 at the Clark Wood Invitational in Louisville, but will instead focus on the 100-meter hurdles.

“While she was accepted into the Olympic Trials in both the 400-meter and 100-meter hurdles, we have opted to just focus on the 100 hurdles,” Basler said. “After the mishap at the NCAA Championships, we both knew that is not how we wanted her amazing season to end. I am happy she gets another shot at competing in Eugene and representing Milwaukee at the Olympic Trials.”

Block becomes just the second Panther in the program’s Division I history to qualify and compete in the track and field Olympic trials, and the first female to do so. Milwaukee’s lone qualifier before Block was Cory Peterson, who qualified for the 800-meter run in advance of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

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