VERMILLION — South Dakota track and field picked up 15 more event titles Saturday for a total of 18 event champions at the Dakota Realty Alumni Meet on the Mildred J. Hillenbrand Memorial Track inside the DakotaDome this weekend.
Senior Chris Nilsen improved his NCAA lead in the men’s pole vault by another centimeter on Saturday, vaulting over 19 feet, 1 inch (5.82m). The height improves his South Dakota program record for the second-straight week and ties for the 12th-best indoor mark in NCAA history.
Joining Nilsen in the nation’s top-ranked pole vault squad was a 1-4 showing on Saturday with the group finishing more than two feet higher than fifth place. Redshirt-junior Ethan Bray was runner-up with an indoor best vault of 18-1. He already ranks second in program history and moves to ninth in the NCAA this season. Seniors Nick Johnson and Kaleb Ellis took third and fourth, respectively, with a clearance of 16-7 ¼.
South Dakota also boasts the nation-leading women’s pole vault squad, which swept the top-five places in the competition. Senior Helen Falda had a dramatic finish with a third-attempt make over 14-1 ¾ to win. Falda’s coming off an indoor personal best of 14-3 ½ from last week’s Adidas Classic. She ranks seventh in the NCAA with that height. The other four Coyotes – sophomore Deidra Marrison, redshirt-junior Makiah Hunt, freshman Gen Hirata and junior Landon Kemp – all cleared 13-7 ¾.
Redshirt-sophomore Kenneth McMahan tallied a personal best 5,354 points in the two-day heptathlon competition to take home a win. The mark ranks 18th in the NCAA this season.
Junior Callie Henrich followed-up yesterday’s elite weight throw competition with more than a foot personal best in the shot put today. She won with a distance of 50-10 and moved to second in South Dakota program history. The mark ranks 52nd in the nation this season.
Junior Abby Ripperda was the lone double-winner in Coyote uniform on Saturday. She outkicked the competition in the final lap of the mile to win in 4:56.94, then came back to handily win the 3,000 meters in 9:51.45.
South Dakota also swept the top-four spots in the women’s 3,000 meters. Behind Ripperda was senior Kianna Stewart in 10:05.22. Next across the finish line were juniors Kelsi Kearney and Jonna Bart.
Senior Zack Anderson leaped past the 7-foot barrier in the high jump yet again this week, finishing two centimeters off his season best. Anderson cleared 7-2 /12 to win the competition. Behind Anderson in the high jump were sophomore Jack Durst and junior Blake Vande Hoef. Both cleared 6-9 ½.
Durst bounded to a three-foot collegiate best in the triple jump, finishing second in 45-4 ½. Anderson also participated in the horizontal jumps, placing third in the long jump with a personal best mark of 22-9 ¾.
The Coyotes swept the women’s and men’s 60 meters. Senior Tasheka Gordon took the women’s title in 7.76 seconds. Freshman Dylan Kautz clocked 6.88 seconds to win the men’s race.
Freshman Hannah Young captured the 200 meters in 25.78 seconds. Junior Danielle Thompson finished runner-up in 26.15 seconds.
The Coyotes captured the women’s 4x400-meter relay in 3:56.87. Senior Hannah Draayer led off, Thompson held off the competition in the second leg, freshman Madison Jochum took the third leg and junior Holly Gerberding anchored. Draayer finished runner-up in the open 400 meters in 57.80 seconds and Jochum took second in the open 800 meters in 2:19.36.
Senior Samara Spencer won the long jump with a season-best leap of 18-10 ¾.
Freshman Carly Haring won the women’s high jump with a height of 5-6 ½. Senior Britny Kerr finished third in 5-4 ½.
Following up on yesterday’s pentathlon victory, senior Kamberlyn Lamer won the triple jump while competing unattached. Lamer jumped 38-0 ¾. Spencer took second in 37-11 ½ and Kerr took third in 37-5.
South Dakota cruised to a victory in the women’s distance medley relay in 12:30.78. Sophomore Haley Arens led off in the 1,200 meters to give the Coyotes a large lead, senior Ellie Wilson clocked the 400 meters, sophomore Brigit Blote ran the 800 meters and senior Haley Fritza brought them home in the mile.
Freshman Hugo Morvan clocked a season-best 8.10 seconds to finish runner-up in the 60-meter hurdles. The time moves him to fourth in South Dakota school history.
In addition to the high jump and triple jump, Kerr took third place in the 60-meter hurdles. She clocked 8.84 seconds.
Sophomore Merga Gemeda clocked a personal best 8:32.88 in the 3,000 meters for third place. The time moves him to 10th on USD’s all-time charts.
Wayne State’s Cade Kalkowski, who had posted a season-best mark of 65-3 1/2 in the men’s weight throw at the Frank Sevigne/Husker Invitational on Friday, improved that mark with a toss of 66-1 3/4 on Saturday. The mark put the former Niobrara-Verdigre standout in sixth in NCAA Division II while hitting the provisional standard.
The Coyotes are back in action next weekend at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa.