USD athletes qualify for NCAA championships

USD athletes qualify for NCAA championships South Dakota men's and women's track and field teams will take 16 individuals to the NCAA Division II National Championships at Raleigh, NC, on May 25-27.

The men's team, fresh off the first North Central Conference outdoor track and field title in 35 years, has qualified 11 individuals in 12 events. The qualifiers include junior sprinter Tom Green (100-meter, 200-meter, 4×100-meter relay) of Hornick, IA; Jason Probasco (10,000-meter) of Woodbine, IA; Andrew Neugebauer (800-meter, 4×400-meter relay) of Dimock; Erik VanLaecken (4×400-meter relay) of Parkston; Garrett Schramm (pole vault) of Utica; Steve Schmidt (shot put) of White River; Aaron Dykstra (4×100-meter relay) of Yankton; Pat Belling (4×100-meter, 4×400-meter relays) and Ryan Finley (4×100-meter, 4×400 meter relays) of Omaha, NE; and Matt Hoyt (10,000-meter, 5,000-meter, 3,000-meter steeplechase) of Basin, WY.

Women qualifiers include Molly Wedel (10,000-meter, 5,000-meter, 3,000-meter) of Spencer, IA; Sara Deckert (100-meter, 200-meter) of Doland; Sandy Pelkofer (pole vault) of Rapid City; Tonya Kneifl (heptathlon, high jump) of Newcastle, NE; and Mandi Muller (discus) of Schyler, NE.

During the 2000 outdoor season, the Coyote men's team set 10 new school outdoor records and four all-time South Dakota records. Schmidt's toss (58'9.25") set an all-time mark in the shot put. Hoyt, a senior distance runner, who set an all-time South Dakota best in the 10,000-meter run (29:24.50), and both the 4×100 (41.05) and 4×200-meter relays (1:25.53) also established new state marks this year.

Schmidt heads into the nationals with the second best throw. Hoyt, who was named the North Central Conference "Outstanding Athlete of the Year" on May 18, has recorded the third best time (14:14.02) in the 5,000-meter run, and the fourth best time in both the 10,000-meter run (29:24.80) and the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:05.20). Green set individual school records in the 100-meter (10.41) and 200-meter (21.13) dashes and anchored the 4×100 relay, which set a school and state record at the NCC meet last weekend. He has the fourth best time in Division II in the 100-meter and the 12th best in the 200-meter dash.

Neugebauer, who won the national indoor 800-meter title, has the sixth fastest time in the 800-meter run (1:49.80). Hofer is seeded 11th (14.30) in the 110-meter hurdles. South Dakota's 4×100-relay of Dykstra, Belling, Finley and Green has the 10th best time (41.05), while the 4×400-relay of VanLaecken, Belling, Finley and Neugebauer is 12th (3:13.0). Schramm has the ninth best pole vault in D-II (16'02").

Wedel leads the Coyote women who have qualified five student athletes in nine events. At the nationals, Wedel has the D-II's second best time in 10,000-meters (35:24.40), a mark she set at the NCC meet last weekend. Her time bettered the previous mark by 30 seconds. She also has the 10th best time in the 3,000-meter run (10:00.27), and the 17th best time in the 5,000-meter run (17:29.58). Deckert comes into nationals with the fourth best time in the 200-meter dash (23.95) and is ranked fifth in the 100-meter dash (11.86). Pelkofer has the eighth best pole vault (11'06.25"), while Kneifl is seeded fourth in the heptathlon (4,982 points) and seventh in the high jump (5'08.75"). Muller is seeded 10th in the discus with a throw of 157'02".

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