Four records, including two of the oldest marks on the book, highlighted the Class A session of the Dan Lennon Invitational which was held on Monday at the DakotaDome on the campus of The University of South Dakota.
The event, hosted by the USD Track and Field Program, included more than 1,162 student-athletes from high schools through the region.
Betsy Bies, a senior from Yankton, had a record-breaking day as she was named the Girls' Dan Lennon Class A MVP. Bies, who won her third straight 3,200-meter title at the Dan Lennon Relays, broke her own record of 11:01.37 set a year ago by over nine seconds as she clocked a 10:52.45. Bies also was a member of the second-place sprint medley relay.
Bill Kogel, a junior from Sioux Falls Roosevelt, won the 1,600-meter run in 4:40.01 and the 3,200-meter run in 9:34.74 and received the Boys' Class A MVP honor.
Aside from Bies' record, the other girls' record was set by the Sioux Falls Roosevelt's 1,600-meter relay squad with a clocking of 4:10.16. The Roosevelt squad, which included Megan Bren, Erin Hargens, Krista Eckert and Allison Eckert, broke the 1984 record of 4:10.4 held by Omaha Central (NE).
There were also two records set on the boys' side. The Omaha Benson squad of Willie White, Jared Hall, Kyle Estwick and Jaron Hall broke the oldest record on the books in the boys' 1,600-meter relay. Omaha Benson clocked a 3:31.06 which bettered the 1982 record of Sioux Falls Washington of 3:32.6. In addition, Paul Hamilton of Sidney, NE, broke the high jump mark by going 6'09. Hamilton broke the record of 6'8.25 set by Jeramy Geditz of Madison, in 2005.
U.S. Olympian Derek Miles of Sioux Falls, was presented the Dan Lennon Award earlier on Monday.
"I want to keep this short and sweet," said Miles, who spoke to the gathered crowd and several members of the media on Monday afternoon. "I am appreciative of (USD) coaches (Dave) Gottsleben and (Lucky) Huber for all they have done for me," said Miles.
"I have to tell you that Dan Lennon is synonymous with outstanding high school track and field in the Midwest. This meet and awards reminds me why as a high school athlete you dedicate yourself to working hard and trying to do the best you can. It is motivating to me to know that all these outstanding athletes compete so hard at this meet and others like it," said Miles.
The Lennon Award is presented annually to an individual who has made a positive and lasting impact on track and field in the Midwest.
"I think anytime you are recognized for your success in a field that it means a lot," said Miles. "It is an honor that I feel very good about. When you go about your business of preparing to be the best that you can be and then someone thinks enough of you to give you an honor than that is special," said Miles.
Originally of Sacramento, CA, Miles was inducted into the Henry Heider Memorial Coyote Sports Hall of Fame in fall 2006. Miles, who competes for the Bell Athletics/Nike Club, is one of three South Dakota graduates to compete in the Olympic Games. At USD, Miles won the North Central Conference pole vault title in 1996 and finished fifth at the 1996 NCAA Division II indoor meet. He was third at the 1994 NCAA Division II outdoor nationals. Miles earned an undergraduate degree in history and a master's degree in athletic administration at USD in 1996.
One of the world's top pole vaulters. Miles finished seventh at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and was ranked fifth in the world at the end of the 2005 season. He was ranked #2 in the U.S. by Track and Field News in 2005. Miles owns a personal best of 19-2.50 that he set at the DakotaDome in 2005, which was the seventh-best vault in the world that year. Miles was the USA Indoor champion in 2003 and fifth at the World Outdoors, also in 2003. Miles was 10th at the USA Outdoor Championships in 2006 and was ranked 10th in the U.S. by Track and Field News.
He has also set up the Derek Miles and Friends Pole Vault Competition at his alma mater. The competition annually brings some of the world's top vaulters (Jeff Hartwig, Toby Stevenson, and others) to the DakotaDome.
Miles is an inspiration to those in track and field with his dedication to helping young vaulters. One example is some of the advice he provided Sam Pribyl who won the NCAA Division II pole vault title last spring, becoming USD's first ever pole vault titlist.