Caldwell earns All American status at NAIA meet
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. --- The South Dakota School of Mines indoor track and field program added another All American to its list this past weekend during the NAIA National Indoor Track Meet in Johnson City, Tenn.
Hardrocker senior Chandler Caldwell earned All American honors after taking third place in the pole vault event. The Metallurgical major from Thornton, Colo., cleared a height of 16-feet-3.25 inches to secure third place in the highly competitive field.
“That was probably as well as Chandler has ever jumped,” sad Hardrocker head coach Jerry Schafer. “He vaulted so well (this past weekend). He had great technique and he is certainly capable of higher heights.”
The event winner went to Zach Burrington of Bethel College (Indiana) who cleared 16-8.75. The runner-up was Robert Rasnick of Cedarville University (Ohio), who actually had the same height as Caldwell at 16-3.25.
“Chandler had three really good attempts at 16-8,” Schafer said. “He was close to the height limit for the pole he was on.”
Caldwell’s height was also a good enough mark to set a new SDM all-time indoor record. The old record, established earlier in the season by Caldwell, was 15-7. His height at the NAIA meet was the first time that the Hardrocker senior had breached the 16-foot mark indoors or outdoors in competition during his pole vaulting career. Caldwell also holds the outdoor SDM pole vault record with a height of 15-11.
After this past weekend’s meet, Caldwell is now a two-time All American also earning that status at last year’s national outdoor meet (15-11). Caldwell finished sixth outdoors last year. He settled for 12th place at the indoor meet, finishing with a height of 15-3.
From the left, Chandler Caldwell (pole vault) head coach Jerry Schafer and Tyler Flattum (60 high hurdles at the NAIA National Indoor Meet in Johnson City Tennessee.
SD Mines other national competitor was Tyler Flattum in the 60-meter high hurdles.
Flattum, a senior from Bristol, S.D., ran a quick time of 8.30 in the preliminary race, which advanced him to the semifinal race, where the Industrial Engineering major, clocked a time of 8.43. Flattum did not advance to the finals. His time was just two tenths of second from qualifying him for the final race.
“We were pleased with Tyler’s races,” Schafer said. “He was able to get into the semifinals this year. Last year he was unable to get out of the prelims.”
Schafer said that Flattum was looking strong at the beginning of the semifinal race, as one of the lead runners to the first set of hurdles. He then became a little passive which may have cost him some precious time down the stretch.
“He got a little conservative,” Schafer said. “He needed to be more aggressive over the hurdles.”
Shafer added that it was encouraging to see Flattum run as he transitions to the outdoor season.
“There is a lot more upside for Tyler,” Schafer said. “Hopefully he can learn from the experience and carry it over to the outdoor season.”
The Hardrockers will open the outdoor season March 22 at the Colorado University Meet in Boulder, Colo.
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