UWM hurdler advances to semifinals, but falls short of making Olympic team

UWM track and field athlete Natalie Block made it to the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but fell short of making the squad bound for the Summer Games in Paris.

Block competed in the first round of the trials on Friday in Eugene, Oregon, with 29 other competitors. She ran well enough to advance to the semifinals on Saturday, but her time was not fast enough to advance to the finals.

Natalie Block

Block had qualified for the trials in both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles, but injured her ankle before the NCAA Championships in June. Lingering effects from that injury held her back from competing in the longer event in the Olympic trials and hampered her performance over the weekend.

Still, the experience caps an impressive year for Block, who holds several UWM records and is only the second Panther in the program’s Division I history to qualify and compete in the track and field Olympic trials.

“I was really impressed with how Natalie handled the atmosphere of competing at the Olympic Trials,” UWM track and field head coach Andrew Basler said. “From her warm-up to the competition, she stayed focused on what she needed to accomplish.

“There was definitely some uncertainty heading into her race, seeing how she had not competed in five weeks.”

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