Jackrabbit track hosts mega-meet in Brookings

Robert Myers

Two weeks away from the Summit League Indoor Championship, SDSU track and field and SJAC hosted their largest meet yet, drawing 2,157 spectators on the meet’s second day as the Jackrabbits posted top finishes and new personal and school records across the board.

The meet began Friday afternoon with Mary Wirth seizing first place in the high jump, clearing 5-10.5. At the same time Jazzelena Black won her first of two weekend events in the long jump.

Later on Carly Carper broke her own school record in the 200-meter dash on route to a third place finish.

“It felt awesome, coming here at a home meet and doing it in front of the home crowd is pretty awesome,” Carper said.

As evening came on, the Jacks would go through a bit of a dry spell, but they finished the night on a tear, setting new school records for both the men’s and the women’s 3200-meter relay teams. Running for the men were Ayub Kassim, Dylan Slaba, Daniel Pettit and Cal Lawton. Whitlee Larson, Brooke Peterson, Bobbie McLaury and Laura Lawton ran for the women.

To conclude the night Samantha Anderson and Andrew Thies earned victories in the unseeded 3,000-meter run as the women posted four top-six finishes and the men placed five runners in the top 10. For Anderson, it was her first of two personal records on the weekend as she would go on to win her heat in the mile with a PR on Saturday.

Jeremiah Ary carried Friday’s momentum over into Saturday, rebounding from what he called a disappointed third place finish in the long jump on Friday to claim first place in the triple jump which he won by nearly half a meter.

“[Saturday] I came out ran my approach, my technique was pretty good and I had a little more energy,” Ary said about finding more success on the second day of the meet.

Ary is currently ranked second in the Summit League in the long jump and first in the triple jump. In two weeks he will look to make it a sweep in the conference championships.

“Hopefully [I can improve] my approach and my technique, and hopefully I can win both at conference and just listen to my coach,” Ary said.

Meanwhile, Black also wrapped up the triple jump to give her a sweep of the horizontal jumps and the Jackrabbits a sweep of the long jump.

“I’m really happy with my jumps,” Black said. “Long jump was nice just because I’m getting closer and closer back to jumping 19 feet, like my freshman year I had one over 19 feet. And with triple, I’m just working on my technique so we were just focusing on that.”

Besides taking pride in her accomplishments, Black also enjoyed the atmosphere.

“I love the atmosphere, I love competing and so having this many athletes you have more competition to compete with and it fires you up,” Black said.

Finishing second in the triple jump was Jenna Stephens, and the Jackrabbits also showed depth in the long jump wherein Carper finished fourth and Ashley Odegaard came in sixth

Back on the men’s side, Joel Reichow took third in the 5,000 meter run and the mile run while Lawton took third in the 800-meter run.

And with the meet winding down, Carper broke another school record of hers, this time good for a victory in the 60-meter dash.

The Jackrabbit men then closed out the meet in thrilling fashion in the 1600-meter relay as the B-team of Dru Kenny, Lawton, Kassim, and Austin Johnsen finished with the eight best time in school history while the A-team of Sam Johnson, Adam Belhaj, Justin Carson and Marc Husman took second place in a sprint to the finish line that gave them the second best time in school history.

“All of our teammates – we all stepped up and we did our part. Adam Belhaj my teammate, he ran a really good time and he ended up putting us in first place, right behind Mankato and it was just a dogfight there, almost the whole 400 was pretty much a dogfight till the end” Husman said. “It was a really fun race. I enjoyed it a lot.”

Heading into the Summit League Championships the Jacks currently sit less than two seconds behind Oral Roberts for the top seed in an event they’ll be looking to win.

“If we can win that would be perfect,” Husman said. “On the guys’ side we’ll be fighting for every point we can get and that’s what’s important – getting points and doing well in conference.”

Before the Summit League Championships begin on Feb. 27 the Jackrabbits will get one last chance to test their skills against outside competition as they will split up their teams to travel to the USD Open and the Nebraska Tune-Up on Friday, Feb. 20.