Many Jackrabbit standouts return for outdoor track and field season

Dustin Veurink

Dustin Veurink

The Summit League outdoor preseason polls are out. Hence, the outdoor track and field season as well as beautiful weather are finally here.

The Jackrabbit women were voted third and the men were voted fourth in the Summit League outdoor pre-season poll. The Jacks began their outdoor season in Missouri on March 26, followed by an event on March 27 in Arkansas.

“From this meet last week and going forward we hope to keep building as the season progresses,” said head track and field coach Rod DeHaven.

The women’s team includes eight all-league selections from last year.

NCAA shot put qualifier Sara Ackman returns for the Jacks. Ackman broke the shot put and discus school records last year.

Summit League champions Michelle Schuch and Lora Shearer also return. Schuch is the defending hammer throw champion and Shearer is the defending high jump champion. Fellow jumper and senior Tamiko Kopfmann is also back with the Jacks. Ashley Storm and Nicole Davis led the Jackrabbit distance squad, with Davis looking to continue her success in the steeplechase this year.

The 2007 Summit League weight throw champion Jennifer Mack is returning for the Jackrabbits after redshirting last year due to injury.

The Jackrabbits will be without sprinter Heather Wollman until later this season. Wollman is the defending 200-meter champion, while senior Kristi Mortenson will have to step up in pole vault with senior jumper Brittany Garner redshirting.

On the men’s side, last year’s Summit League high jump outdoor champion Ben Jasinski is coming back. All-conference junior Sean Burns also returns for the Jacks. Hammer throw and javelin school record holder senior Sam McInerney is back after redshirting last spring.

Marshall Kambestad, the only upperclassman on the men’s side this season, will lead the men’s young distance running team. During his sophomore year, sprinter Luke Leischner will try to continue his outdoor success.

“After we add back a few of our injured folks we will be much stronger than we are at the moment,” said DeHaven.The Jacks will next be at home on April 2 for the South Dakota, North Dakota Double Dual.

“If we can get the meet in we will be excited to have a meet in Brookings,” said DeHaven. “And the fact that meet will be scored should give the meet a little more meaning to our student athletes.”

The track and field team will be in Brookings again on April 27 for the SDSU Twilight meet. Three days later, the Jacks will stay in state for the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on April 30 and May 1.