The University of South Dakota men’s and women’s track teams will compete in the Sioux City Relays April 12- 13. The competition will be in Olsen Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa.
All of the track program’s athletes will be at the Sioux City Relays. There will be several levels of competition at the meet, which also features high schools and middle schools within the region.
“It’s the surrounding area’s schools,” senior sprinter Ashley Svem said. “We don’t have the set of teams that we know are going to be there, but it’s always good competition.”
USD women’s track coach Lucky Huber said the Sioux City Relays will feature multiple NAIA schools.
“It’s not a real big Division-I meet,” Huber said. “So that gives some of our kids who maybe didn’t get a chance to make finals at some of the bigger meets a chance to get some more opportunities and gives everybody a chance to have some success.”
Some of the schools that have competed in the past against USD in the Sioux City Relays are Morningside College, Briar Cliff University and the University of Sioux Falls. Huber said USD will likely be the only Division-I school at the meet.
Senior distance runner Benson Lang’at said even though there will be smaller schools to compete against, it doesn’t change how USD should approach the competition.
“We believe in being successful,” Langat said. “And we don’t underestimate anybody, because even small schools can surprise in a lot of things, so we like to prepare very well.”
Langat said the Sioux City Relays is a tradition for USD track and field.
“It gives us a chance to become competitive and see what we can do with local schools,” he said.
The Coyotes will compete in Sioux City after having competed in the Dakota Duals. USD raced against SDSU, North Dakota and the Nebraska-Omaha women in that meet.
USD sprinter Ashley Svem said it was “very important” to compete against SDSU in the Duals.
“It’s been an old rivalry for all of us,” Svem said. “The biggest thing is to get out there and do your best.”
Svem said preparing for meets is how a track athlete can excel when they compete. She also said the upcoming meets can help the team prepare for future events like the Summit League Championships.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” Svem said. “You can’t just step on the track or in the ring on the day of the conference (meet) and assume to do well. It’s something that happens over time, and these meets help us.”
First-year jumper Randy Fitzsimmons said doing well at the meets can reflect positively on USD’s program.
“It kind of shows off South Dakota pretty good,” Fitzsimmons said. “It helps us.”
Lang’at said it was “unique” being a part of the small tradition of competing at the Sioux City Relays this season.
“Just going out there competing for USD is one of the best things,” Lang’at said.