‘Am I dreaming?’ Minnetonka’s Matt Wilkinson qualifies for Olympics in steeplechase

Matthew Wilkinson wins the first heat of the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase during day one of the US Olympic Track and Field Trials Friday, June 21, 2024, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. (Ben Lonergan/USA Today)

Matt Wilkinson was having an out-of-body experience as he crossed the finish line in the 3,000-meter steeplechase Sunday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

Wilkins, a Minnesota native and former Carleton College standout before winning two Big Ten titles with the Gophers, finished second in the event with a time of 8:23.00 and is likely headed to his first Olympic Games in Paris in July. Just after crossing the line, Wilkinson couldn’t believe what he had just accomplished.

"Am I dreaming," Wilkinson told NBC after the race. "Someone come and wake me up, because I can't believe it. It's unreal. This whole season has been unreal, making it with these wonderful gentlemen. Absolutely unreal."

Wilkinson has not yet officially qualified for Team USA as his time of 8:16.59 is just short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 8:15.00. He could still make it if he’s high enough in the world rankings. The U.S. track and field delegation will be set July 7.

A total of 36 athletes will qualify, and Wilkinson’s ranking is No. 36 as of June 18.

Wilkinson won the 3,000-metere steeplechase and the 5,000-meter for the Gophers at the Big Ten Championships. He finished fifth at the NCAA Championships.