Senior Megan Billington became the fastest women’s 5,000-meter runner is USD history as the Coyotes split between meets at SDSU and the University of Arkansas over the weekend.
Billington finished the race in 16:30.19, beating the previous record from 2015 of 16:31.95 held by Amber Eichkorn. The time is also a 16-second personal best for Billington, as she beat out SDSU’s Rachel King by three seconds to win the event at the SDSU Classic on Saturday.
“I actually didn’t know it was a school record until an hour or two after the race,” said Billington. “Immediately after the race I was pretty happy because it was a big PR.”
The Coyotes took the women’s distance medley relay at the meet the previous day in 11:43.23. Senior Madeline Huglen ran the opening 1,200 meters, freshman Haley Arens took the 400 meters, sophomore Macy Heinz handled the 800 meters, and Billington anchored the relay for 1,600 meters. The team posted the second-fastest time in USD history.
“It was a really great race from all of us,” Billington said. “It’s not something we get to do a lot, so it was really fun. We were pretty much by ourselves the whole time so for us to run that fast was pretty exciting.”
USD also captured the women’s 4×400-meter relay, as sophomore Danielle Thompson, junior Ellie Wilson, sophomore Macy Heinz, and Mallory Fine finished at 3:52.54. Heinz also bested her personal best in the 800-meter by two seconds en route to finishing second in 2:10.81, which is the third-fastest time in Coyote history. Fine also posted a PR at 2:11.73, enough to place fourth in the 800-meter and tie her for the sixth-best time in USD indoor history.
Senior Elden Warner captured the men’s 3,000 meters, clocking 8:18.53. Senior Karina Dufoe placed second in the women’s 200-meter in 25.06 seconds. Senior Ethan Fenchel placed second in the men’s weight throw, marking at 67-8. Senior Lara Boman to took fourth in the women’s weight throw with a toss of 68-1 ¾.
At the Tyson Invitational Meet in Fayetteville, Ark., senior Kimmy Peterson vaulted 13-8 ½, setting an indoor personal best and winning the women’s pole vault. Peterson now sits at 24th nationally and fifth on USD’s all-time indoor leaderboard. Junior Helen Falda tied for sixth place in the women’s invitational pole vault, which included top collegians and professionals, with a height of 13-6 ½. USD alumna Emily Grove won the invitational at 14-10 ¼.
Junior Chris Nilsen was the top collegian in the men’s invitational pole vault, once again matching his season-best mark of 18-8 ¾ for the third week in a row. Nilsen finished runner-up to Arkansas alum and professional pole vaulter Andrew Irwin but defeated five vaulters ranked in the NCAA’s top-10 this season.
Senior Joe Rogan was two inches shy of his personal best in the long jump, marking at 24-0 ¼. Reagan also clocked 6.97 in the 60-meter. Junior Samara Spencer captured 10th in the women’s invitational long jump at 18-1 ½ and clocked 7.74 in the 60-meter. Junior Zack Anderson placed eighth in the men’s invitational high jump with a height of 6-11 ½. Freshman Jack Durst took fifth on the non-invitational portion of the high jump, leaping 6-9 ½.
The Coyotes will compete in one final meet before the Summit League and NCAA Championships as they head to Lincoln, Nebraska for the Nebraska Tune-Up on Friday.