Erickson and Gebhart lead USD Womenâ�?�?s track team to sixth place
at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Nationals; Menâ�?�?s team takes 24th Emma Erickson and Stephanie Gebhart led The University of South Dakota womenâ�?�?s track and field team to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championship which concluded Saturday at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut, Calif. The USD men finished 24th with nine points. Erickson (Fr., Gayville) broke her own school record (2:07.57) with her clocking of 2:07.36 in winning the womenâ�?�?s 800-meter run. She has become the first Coyote womenâ�?�?s athlete to win national titles in both the indoor and outdoor 800-meters. She is just the second Coyote womenâ�?�?s performer and the first freshman to win two national titles in the same year. Erickson is the 18th national champion in Coyote school history. Overall, the Coyotes menâ�?�?s and womenâ�?�?s track and field squad had six top-five finishes and a total of nine student-athletes earned All-American honors. Seven USD womenâ�?�?s athletes and two men picked up All-American honors. The Coyote womenâ�?�?s team recorded their 10th top-10 finish at the outdoor nationals in school history. USDâ�?�?s sixth-place team finish is tied for the second-best outdoor finish ever with the 2000 and 2001 squads. USD was fifth at the 1998 outdoor nationals. This womenâ�?�?s team had 37 team points, which is the top total ever compiled at outdoor nationals. Abilene Christian won the womenâ�?�?s team race with 76.50 points. Adams State finished second in the womenâ�?�?s team standings followed by Lincoln, third, 54; UC-San Diego, fourth, 49; Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, fifth, 45; South Dakota, sixth, 37; St. Augustine, sixth, 37. The menâ�?�?s team race was won by Abilene Christian with 108.50 points and St. Augustineâ�?�?s was second with 102. Gebhart, a senior from Elkton, finished her Coyote career with a school-record 21 All-American honors. On Saturday, she earned three All-American honors, including a third place finish in the womenâ�?�?s 400-meters with a clocking of :54.65. In addition, she led the 4×100-meter relay to a third-place finish and ran a :53.9 split in the anchor leg as the 4×400-meter relay took fourth at nationals. In her career, she had four top-six finishes in the 400-meters at the outdoor nationals. USD head womenâ�?�?s coach Lucky Huber was proud of his entire squad and applauded Gebhart for her leadership. â�?�?When you walk off the track for the last time, you want to know that you gave it your all. Steph did that at this meet and throughout her career,â�? said Huber, who was named the national U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coach of the Year on Wednesday. â�?�?It was a great team effort,â�? said Huber. â�?�?We had exceptional performances from everyone. Ramsey Kavan ran a wonderful race and was just edged at the end. I think this team leaves Division II with a legacy of success,â�? said Huber. Ramsey Kavan (So., Yankton) broke a school record while finishing second in the womenâ�?�?s 5,000-meter run. Kavan clocked a time of 16:53.23 which broke the USD womenâ�?�?s mark of 17:00.01 set by Molly Wedel in 2003. She finished just behind Jonel Rossbach of Emporia State, who had a time of 16:52.28. Erickson, who picked up three All-American honors and now has six in just her first year of competition, was also part of the two relays that placed at nationals. The 4×100-meter relay finished third with a season-best clocking of :46.33. Along with Erickson and Gebhart, the team included Jenessa Filler (Crooks) and Shaneka Parkes (Jr., St. Ann, Minard Hill, Jamaica). Both Gebhart and Erickson were part of the 4×400-meter relay that was fourth with a clocking of 3:43.91. Other members of the team include Allison Smith (Jr., Wahpeton, ND) and Rosalie Brueske (So., Woonsocket). Also for the Coyote women, Parkes was seventh in the womenâ�?�?s javelin throw with a toss of 140'0. The South Dakota menâ�?�?s team was led by Scott Hargens (Sr., Sioux Falls) who finished fourth in the menâ�?�?s 800-meter run with a career-best clocking of 1:50.48. With his performance, Hargens earned his first outdoor All-American honor and now has three in his career (two, indoor). Senior Terry Liggins (Omaha, NE) concluded his Coyote career with a fifth-place finish in the menâ�?�?s 110-meter hurdles. He clocked a time of :13.96 which earned Liggins his sixth career All-American honor. Liggins has become the first USD and NCC menâ�?�?s athlete to earn three All-American honors in both the 60-meter indoor hurdles and the 110-meter outdoor hurdles. â�?�?I am extremely proud of everyone on our track teams,â�? said USD menâ�?�?s head coach Dave Gottsleben. â�?�?Scott and Terry had great performances for the menâ�?�?s team. Along with an outstanding effort by the womenâ�?�?s team, we finished the season on a high note. The coaching staff is exceptionally proud of these student-athletes,â�? he said.