Track and field team excels at Sioux City Relays and USD Twilight
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Track and field team excels at Sioux City Relays and USD Twilight

The USD track and field team found themselves at the top of the scoreboards in the Sioux City Relays Saturday and the USD Twilight Monday.

At the Sioux City Relays, the wins were plentiful for the Coyotes. Seniors Emily Grove and Danielle Waldner led the way to 20 victories for the team by breaking school records in their respective events.

Grove became just the ninth collegiate woman in history to jump higher than 15 feet with a record jump of 15 feet, 1 inch. This feat pushes her to the top of the NCAA this season and up to fifth in the world (IAAF).

According to, the height also qualifies her for the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London this summer.

On the men’s side of the pole vault events, freshman Chris Nilsen also made history by jumping a personal best and South Dakota program record of 18-9 1/2. That height gave Nilsen sole possession of the NCAA’s top mark and third in the world (IAAF).

Waldner highlighted the throwing competition by breaking the school record, which is also her own record, in shot put with a throw of 53-5 1/2. The recurring record-setter moved her way to No. 28 on the NCAA charts with the mark.

Sophomore Madeline Huglen also broke a school record with her performance in the steeplechase.

It was Huglen’s first steeplechase of the season and she posted a time of 10:42.42, nearly a minute under her personal best, to break the seven-year-old school record of 10:48.28.

Junior Lindsay Joyce and senior Amber Eichkorn both set meet records in the 1,500 meters. The team also swept the top four places in the men’s discus behind personal bests from junior Jacob Barents and sophomore Ben Hammer.

Hammer said seeing the team succeed represented the work they had put in.

“It’s always great seeing everything come together after all the practice and work that we’ve put in during the last nine months,” Hammer said.

At the USD Twilight on Monday, the records continued to fall.

Waldner continued her dominance by shattering her own school record again, this time by more than two feet. She launched the shot put 55 feet, ¾ inches, which makes for the third-straight week she has broken the record.

Her latest throw lands her at No. 16 in the nation this spring.

Waldner said she felt great going into the meet and was satisfied with the results.

“I just felt very explosive,” she said. “Overall, everything went very well. It was just a great atmosphere.”

Both Nilsen and Grove set new Lillibridge Track Complex facility records with jumps of 18-0 1/2 and 14-9, respectively, but neither jumps were higher than their record-setting jumps just four days before.

Grove took three attempts at breaking her record again at 15-2 1/4, but was unable to accomplish the feat.

Freshman Zack Anderson swept the jumping events on the men’s side by taking the high jump in 6-11 1/2, the triple jump in a season-best 44-1 1/2 and the long jump in 22-11 3/4.

Sophomore Karina Dufoe was the only other Coyote to win multiple events – she seized the 100 meters in 12.12 seconds and 200 meters in 25.00 seconds.

Dufoe said she thinks the team is doing very well and is confident in their momentum nearing the end of the season.

“These little meets build confidence that we need and with the Drake meet coming up this weekend, it will be a great chance to get another performance under our belt,” she said.

The team will travel to Des Moines, IA for the Drake Relays before preparing for the Summit League Championships May 11 through May 13 in Fargo, ND.