Records fall as SDSU plans for title run

John Green


Records are meant to be broken and the SDSU track team fulfilled that obligation this past weekend, setting three school records at the ISU Classic in Ames, Iowa and at the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D.

“It was a huge weekend for us,” head coach Rod DeHaven said. “Anytime you set three school records, it’s a big deal.”

The first of the records broken was in the 800-meter run. Senior Jake Schneller ran the race in 1:51:14, edging out Kansas State’s Armando Del Valle (1:51:33) for a top-eight finish. The ISU Classic featured some of the top athletes in the nation, making Schneller’s performance all the more remarkable.

As it turned out, the Jacks were not finished with their impressive performance, and the SDSU distance medley relay team also claimed a school-best finish. The final record of the weekend was set by senior Jared Vlastuin in the high jump, with a jump of 7 feet and one-half inch, claiming not only the top finish in the meet, but also the school record.

In addition to his record-breaking high jump, Vlastuin also bested the competition in the long jump, with an effort of 24’-03.75.

Although school records were not broken on the women’s side, their performances were still outstanding. Freshman McKenzie Johnson won the shot put, with a put of 44 feet, one and one fourth inches. Senior Lora Shearer placed second in both the 60-meter hurdles (8.86) and the high jump (5-06.00). Sophomore Mary Wirth won the high jump for the women, with a jump of five feet, eight inches.

“I couldn’t be happier with our performance this weekend,” DeHaven said. “We sent a few runners down to Ames, and the jumpers to Fargo and it really worked out for us.”

The Jackrabbit’s next competition will take place this Friday, Feb. 17 in the South Dakota Twilight Meet. SDSU will have to duplicate their performance this past weekend to gain momentum going into the Summit League Indoor Championships. The championships will be held Thursday Feb. 23 through 25 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Summit League is currently ranked eighth in the nation in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association rankings, making it one of the tougher conferences to win outright. For these next few meets, DeHaven and the Jacks will be focused on final preparations heading into the championships.

“Right now, we’re using these meets to focus on our roster for the championships,” said DeHaven. “We have to get excited for it. If you can’t get excited for the championship meet, you have no business competing.”