By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Joseph Klecker is heading to Tokyo with the U.S. Olympic men’s track and field team after he placed third in a qualifying race Friday night.

Klecker finished third in the men’s 10,000-meter run finals on the first day of the USATF Olympic Trials. He becomes the fourth The University of Colorado – Boulder alum to run the 10k at the Olympics.

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The 24-year-old Minnetonka native started his running career at Hopkins High School where he set a state record in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:06.54. Klecker helped his high school win two individual state championships his senior season and led them to a third-place finish as a team at the Class AA state meet. Because of this, he won the Gatorade Minnesota Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

“People are a little tougher in Minnesota. So many Olympians have come out of Minnesota and now, to have my name up there, it means a lot,” said Klecker to a university reporter after his race.

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Klecker then ran in college for The University of Colorado – Boulder where he broke the Colorado soil mile record in 4:01.00 at the Colorado Invitational, ran the second-fastest 3,000 in school history with a second-place finish in the Millrose Games, and won the Husky Classic 5,000 in a school-record of 13:34.10.

His father, Barney Klecker, owns the U.S. record for the 50-mile ultramarathon (4:51:25) and his mother, Janis Klecker, competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics and won two U.S. marathon national championships.

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