South Dakota’s track and field team competed in the Hawkeye Invitational on Saturday and Sunday. USD’s athletes won five total events and broke two school records.
Junior Zach Anderson, who tied South Dakota’s high jump record in December, cleared 7 feet, 3 ¼ inches, good for a new school record, according to GoYotes. The event also marked the tenth time that Anderson has cleared the 7-foot barrier in his career and is the fourth best jump in the nation this year.
Consistency and confidence have been crucial to Anderson.
“In high school, I hit (seven feet) one time and then I was super on and off on days I was jumping … It’s also just the confidence that I can bring into each meet, knowing that I have been at a certain height and I want to go beyond that,” Anderson said.
Meanwhile, South Dakota senior Ethan Fenchel broke his school record in the weight throw event from last season. Fenchel launched the weight 67-7, good enough to eclipse his former record by over a foot.
“I felt really good going into training that week, so I just kind of carried the momentum going into Iowa,” Fenchel said.
Fenchel also said that mental preparation plays a huge role in throws.
“Throwing is a mind game I think. So if I can feel mentally… in sync going into the meet, then usually it’s a good sign that I might throw well.”
The Coyotes saw improvement in throws and shot put. Senior Lara Boman earned second in the weight throw with a distance of 63-3 ¼, a mark that broke the previous record at the meet. USD senior Ben Hammer beat his personal best by nearly a foot, as he threw the weight 56-10, good for third place.
Sophomore Callie Heinrich also recorded a new personal best in shot put, launching the shot 48-1 ¼, good for fourth place at the event.
Coyote senior Eldon Warner showed consistency once again, as he won the one-mile run and came close to breaking his personal best with a time of 4:09.22 at the event.
Junior Chris Nilsen vaulted 17 feet, 10 ½ inches at the Invitational, a mark which ranks second in the NCAA this year, per GoYotes. The pole vaulting event was represented well by the Coyotes as freshman Sean McClellan and senior Kaleb Ellis finished third and fifth respectively.
Head coach Lucky Huber says that continued improvement will be the team’s main focus for the season.
“We’ve only been going for about seven or eight days here so you kind of have everybody tired legged and trying to make technical changes so I think every group is looking at that: how do they get better? Because right now, we’re not good enough to meet our goals, so they’re all working extremely hard.”
The Coyotes will see action again on Saturday at the Jim Emmerich Alumni Invitational in Brookings, South Dakota.