Indoor track and field season looks promising

Michael Pecha

Michael Pecha

If last weekend’s preseason track meet at the University of Minnesota-Mankato is any indication, South Dakota State University’s upcoming indoor track and field season will be a strong one.

A select few track and field athletes competed in Mankato in the non-scored meet, several of them coming away with personal bests and provisional qualifying times.

“We had a very good weekend with the athletes that we took to Mankato,” head coach Paul Danger said.

Greg Darbyshire finished first in the 3,000 meter run in a school record time of eight minutes, 17 seconds. Cori Vining also set a national provisional qualifying time in the 60 meter hurdles with her time of 8.87 seconds.

“Along with Greg and Cori, Erin Woolley and Sheena Dauer put together two good (times) in their in their respective events,” Danger said. “Kevin Bjerke, Heather Hall, Taunja Disher and David Hegland also did a great job.”

Woolley and Dauer finished first and second, with times of 10:10 and 10:25 respectively.

Bjerke won the men’s mile in 4:24.

Hall won both the 200 meter dash and the 400 meter dash in 26.56 and 59.87, respectively.

Disher, a freshman, finshed first in the 60 meter dash in 8.05.

Hegland finished first in the 60 meter hurdles in 8.23.

Jamie Keck also finished first in the triple jump, with 36-foot, eight-inch leap.

Other runners included Erin Zempel in the women’s 60 meter dash and Joel Laird in the men’s 60 meter dash.

“We only took a small group to this opening meet,” Danger said. “This meet was a tune-up for next week when we race at Iowa State where we will try to secure some NCAA indoor national meet qualifying times.”

Danger said that he is taking athletes that are in a position to run very competitive times to the first two meets. He said he is taking sprinters who have had good fall training and distance runners who are still at peak fitness after the cross country season.

After Christmas break, the full team will travel to the remainder of the meets.

“We are returning a great team from last year,” Danger said.

Those returning include, NCAA All-American miler Matt Pehurdle All-American hurlder Jennifer Stovall, NCC mile champion Brad Lowery and NCC 5000 meter champion Kevin Doe.

Danger said that some newcomers could have an immediate impact for the Jacks.

Those include Erin Delay in the throws, Erin Zempel in the hurdles, Teresa Kramer in the pole vault and Taunja Disher in short sprints.

On the men’s side, Danger said to watch for Joel Laird in the jumps, and John Williams and Matt Rauser in the middle-distances.

Forty women and 45 men are out for track this season.

“Our numbers continue to be strong,” Danger said. “This helps add depth in events, and helps the ability to develop athletes as they move from high school to collegiate track and field.”

Danger will take a small group to Iowa State this weekend. The indoor season starts for the rest of the Jackrabbits Jan. 18 in Mankato, Minn.