Track prepares for Jim Emmerich Invitational

Annalee Ventling-Brown, Reporter

The South Dakota State track and field team hosts the SDSU D2 Open Friday and the Jim Emmerich Alumni Invitational on Saturday at the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex.

The SDSU D2 Open started at 2 p.m. Friday with running events, and field events start at 2:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Jim Emmerich Invitational kicks off with running events at 12:10 p.m. and field events at 12:30 p.m. There will also be a track dedication ceremony at 1:45 p.m. and the Phil LaValle Alumni Mile to follow at 1:50 p.m.

On the men’s and women’s side, there are many athletes to watch this weekend and numerous records could fall.

Starting on the men’s side, SDSU’s Ben Olson, track MVP at last year’s Summit League Championships, will compete in the 3,000-meter run. Tre Manning, an all-conference athlete will compete in the long jump, while Pierre Lear, who is continuing to beat his own record times, will compete in the 60-meter hurdles Saturday.

On the women’s side, SDSU’s Rich-Ann Archer, a defending Summit League champion in the 60 meters, and Leah Hansen in the 3,000-meter run and mile will debut their seasons. Faith Leiseth will compete in the shot put and Brielle Dixon in the 60-meter hurdles Saturday.

The Jim Emmerich meet is a special day for the Jackrabbits. Emmerich put the SDSU track and field team on the map, so to speak. Under his watch, the program built a tradition of excellence.

“The most successful area or the catalyst for the more modern era of track at SDSU can be pointed toward Jim Emmerich,” said Rod DeHaven, director of track and field and cross country at SDSU. “In terms of coaches, not only in track but all sports, his success is incredible.”

Emmerich was best known for his success in coaching track and field at SDSU from 1946 to 1960. During his time in Brookings, he entered 13 competitors in the North Central Conference meets, winning 10 and finishing second the other three years. His 1953 track team won the NAIA National Championship. His 1959 cross country team won the NCAA College Division Title. He was Inducted into the SDSU Hall of Fame in 1972.

“The legacy that he left in creating that standard of excellence in a multitude of areas is something that needs to be recognized,” said Jason Hove, assistant athletic director-athletic communications.

On Saturday, Emmerich won’t be the only name recognized. There will be a track dedication ceremony in the name of Mark Steinborn linked to a million-dollar donation.

Looking ahead for the Jackrabbits, SDSU will hit the road for the UND Open in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Jan. 27 and 28.