The University of South Dakota men and women’s track and field teams will head to Williams Field in Yankton to compete in the annual Dakota Duals April 6, originally scheduled in Brookings, against conference opponents South Dakota State, Omaha and the University of North Dakota.
From March 28-30 some of the team traveled to Austin, Texas to participate in the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays hosted by the University of Texas at Austin.
“This program is getting to the spot where we can compete against some of the top teams in the nation,” women’s head coach Lucky Huber said. “People are starting to recognize that we are there to compete, and our athletes are able to show that they can compete.”
On the first day of events junior Jeffrey Mettler finished fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (8:54.40), breaking the school’s record, set a year prior by Mettler, by 4.55 seconds.
Junior Megan Gilsar capped off the meet in Texas by placing second in section A women’s high jump.
On March 30 some other members participated in the Arkansas Spring Invitational. Junior Alex Hohenthaner placed third in the 3,000-m steeplechase (9:35.87), while student assistant coach Kenna Wolter placed first in the women’s triple jump.
Coach Huber was proud of the efforts the team made throughout both the Texas Relays and Razorback
“Every member of our team gave their best efforts,” Huber said. “Sometimes it doesn’t translate to the finish you’d hope, but both the track and field teams are showing that they are capable of competing.”
After being on the road for the past few weeks the Coyote track & field teams will finally be able to compete closer to home and compete in the annual Dakota Duals in Yankton.
“We haven’t been together in a while as a team. Some have been in Arizona, others in Texas and in Arkansas, so that is a concern for us,” men’s head coach Dave Gottlesben said.
With ice and snow covering the Brookings High School track, officials decided to relocate the event to Williams Field for the second straight year. The change of venue denies the Jackrabbits the home field advantage the Coyotes coveted in last year’s Duals.
Coach Gottsleben believes the proximity of Yankton to Vermillion may give the Coyotes a slight advantage; however, he believes the make-up of Yankton’s track surface provides an extra advantage for everyone, as opposed to Brookings surface.
“The surface at Yankton is a Mondo surface, and on a decent day it certainly provides a fast surface all runners,” Gottsleben said. “It’s certainly a lot better than what we would have run on at Brookings.”
Field events kickoff the Duals at 11 a.m, with track events following at 1 p.m.