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UW Cowboy senior Finley seeks elusive national title on Friday

LARAMIE — With 10 All-America honors already under his belt, this weekend’s NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships may seem like old hat to the University of Wyoming’s Mason Finley. But Friday will be the Cowboy senior’s last chance to capture a title to which he has come tantalizingly close during his collegiate career.

Finley has three top-three finishes in the discus at the outdoor national meet to his name, but has yet to take first. While at Kansas, he was runner-up in 2010, third in 2011 and runner-up again in 2012.

Now a slimmed-down Finley, who transferred to Laramie in the summer of 2012, has his sights set on making it to the top of the podium in Eugene, Ore. He enters the meet with the fifth-farthest throw in the nation at 210-6, which he threw at the Cowpoke Open in Laramie on May 3. Finley qualified for the national meet by finishing fourth at the NCAA West Preliminary on May 31 in Fayetteville, Ark., as he became just the second Wyoming athlete to advance to the national meet under the current qualifying system.

“Mason has done all the work and has been very competitive in each meet this season, so at this point it is purely competing,” UW associate head coach Paul Barrett said. “How much does he want it? It’s one of the deepest fields ever in the discus, so it’s going to be tough. There are 11 guys with throws over 203 feet, so any of them could win. Who handles the pressure in the conditions the best will be the winner, because it’s that close right now. Mason’s history at the NCAA Championships will help him. He’s got some work to do, but he has been doing it at most of the meets this season. If he throws what he has been, he should have a chance to win.”

Trials and finals of the men’s discus will commence at 5 p.m. at Hayward Field. Fans can follow live results through GoWYO.com. ESPNU will televise the meet starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Finley continued a stellar career on May 31 at the NCAA West Preliminary, as he threw the discus 197-2 to finish fourth in the event and punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships in Eugene.

Finley was just the second UW track and field athlete ever to advance to the national meet under the current qualifying system and the first since 2010.

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