Ali captures NCAA title in steeplechase

June 13, 2018
Obsa Ali with a look of disbelief after winning the NCAA steeplechase title

Obsa Ali capped the 2018 track & field season in dramatic fashion on Friday night, winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships to become the University of Minnesota men's track & field program's 14th national champion. 

Ali claimed the program's first national championship in the steeplechase by breaking his own school record at 8:32.23 on Friday night at Hayward Field, taking the lead during the bell lap and recording Minnesota's best finish in the event at the NCAA meet. The All-American broke Don Timm's nearly 47-year old school record at the NCAA West Preliminary last month. 

"I still can't believe it,” Ali said. “I remember last year, I was watching this race from the stands. I was very disappointed, and (Coach Plasencia) actually made me come back to watch it. I knew I didn't want to have that feeling again this year. (This year), I just took it race by race, made the finals, and I won. I still can't believe. ... I still can't believe it." 

A native of Richfield, Minn., Ali is the first Gopher to win a national championship since Luca Wieland won the indoor heptathlon in 2015, and the first to win an outdoor title since Adam Steele claimed the 400-meter championship in 2003.