Wirth garners second All-American honor

South Dakota State senior Mary Wirth competed in her first indoor national meet after claiming her second Summit League Championship in five years.

Wirth broke her own school record with a jump of 6-feet   just two months before the Summit League Championships in February. That mark would get her into the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championship Meet. 

After being one of the best high jumpers in the Summit League for the last couple years, Wirth came in to the meet with a lower mark than most of the women. 

“The athletes surrounding you are absolutely world class,” Wirth said. “It was an honor to be considered in the same field as them.” 

Georgia sophomore Leontia Kallenou came in with the best mark at 6-feet-2 and was followed by Claudia Garcia Jou from Akron with a mark of 6-feet-1. 

Despite coming in with a lower mark, Wirth and her coaches didn’t change any preparation for the national meet.

“The concept behind preparing for any meet is truly the same and comes down to tapering,” Wirth said. “For the national meet we took the tapering to more of an extreme…. we intended for extra spring and minimal muscle soreness.”

Wirth came out with two misses at 5-feet-8 to start the meet but then cleared well over the mark on her third try. 

The next mark was 5-feet-10, which she had already cleared multiple times this season. However, after three solid attempts she was done at the national meet. 

“The big thing is adrenaline and I think it got the best of her,” coach Rod DeHaven said. “Her approach was off, too much speed coming off the back and it brought her into the bar just a little too quick.”

In track and field normally having too much speed would not be a bad thing but in high jump the technique needed to transfer speed into the takeoff is key.

 Wirth also said that after watching film the coaching staff noticed that she began to lean too much away from the bar on the last step of her approach, which prevented her from jumping off of the ground, as she’s use to. 

Despite ending her indoor season on a less desirable note, Wirth has gotten some good life experience and motivation for outdoor season.

“Overall, attending the indoor national meet enabled me to see more clearly that we should never stop striving to better ourselves because incredible records can fall,” Wirthsaid. “However, it is vital to keep in mind that we are exactly where we are meant to be, whether we are setting records or realizing our greatest attributes lie somewhere else.”

The Jackrabbits will start their outdoor season this Saturday at the Arkansas Spring Invite and Wirth will focus on another Summit League Championship and national meet appearance.