SDM thinclads prepare for DAC Championships
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- The South Dakota School of Mines indoor track and field team will compete in the Dakota Athletic Conference Championships set for Friday and Saturday at the Black Hills State Field House in Spearfish.
The meet is slated to get underway Friday with men’s and women’s pentathlon, along with the men’s and women’s weight throw, the men’s pole vault and the men’s and women’s 5,000-meter run. The rest of the events will start Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
SD Mines senior and NAIA national qualifier Chandler Caldwell (Thornton, Colo.) is a favorite in the pole vault event. Earlier this season he set a new school record after clearing a height of 15-feet-7-inches. He is currently second in the conference behind Black Hills State’s Lee Diede who has vaulted over the 16-foot mark. Caldwell has been close but has yet to breach that height.
SDM junior Matt Deardoff follows through on after tossing the shot put during a meet earlier in the year at Black Hills State. Photo by Brad Blume.
“He’s capable of breaking 16 feet,” said Hardrocker head coach Jerry Schafer. “During practice he has had some good vaults and nice heights where he would have cleared 16. It’s going to be a matter of how his technique is.”
It will definitely be an event to watch with both competitors ranked in the Top 5 at the national level.
“Our conference has two of the most premiere pole vaulters in the NAIA,” Schafer added.
The Hardrockers’ other national qualifier, Tyler Flattum, is also expected to do well, competing in the 55-meter high hurdles. The senior from Bristol, S.D., main competition will be that of Dickinson State��s Jermaine Christie, who has the quickest time in the DAC at 7.82 seconds. Flattum best time was clocked at 7.87 and BHSU’s Key Addison is also a strong contender with his time of 7.94.
“It should be a good battle. By no means is it going to be a cake walk for Tyler,” Schafer said. “He will have to have his best race to win but is certainly capable of doing that.”
Flattum automatically qualified for the national meet two weeks ago during the Chadron State meet and it will be his second trip to the NAIA indoor meet after debuting there a year ago.
Junior Matt Deardoff (Brandon, S.D.) is another thinclad participating in a very competitive event. Deardoff throws the shot put and is currently fourth in the conference. The top spots belong to the impressive trio from Black Hills State. Eric Flores has the top distance at 56-1.25, followed by teammates Tyg Long at 52-4.75 and Jason Boeding at 51-5.75. All three are national automatic qualifiers. Deardoff comes in at No. 4 on the DAC list. His best throw this season is a distance of 48-4.
“He is fairly close to a provisional mark. He is eight inches off a provisional mark,” Schafer said. “He would have to have a tremendous throw to have an automatic qualifier, but I have seen stranger things happen.”
Another Hardrocker with the potential to have a stellar conference meet is sprinter Mark Wager. The sophomore from Gettysburg, S.D., has been doing extremely well in both the 200 and 400 dashes.
“Mark is on the verge of breaking the school indoor 400 record and has been pretty close to a provisional qualifier all season,” Schafer said.
South Dakota School of Mines junior Ashley Stewart attempts to clear 5-foot-1-inches during the Dave Little Invite at Black Hills State on Feb. 1. Photo by Brad Blume
Wager has a fast time of 51.27 in the 400, which is seventh best in the DAC. The SDM school indoor record is currently held by Josh VanLaecken, who set it in 2005 with a time of 50.89.
On the women’s side, Ashley Stewart (junior from Scotland, S.D.) is also close to reaching that next level in the high jump. She has a conference Top 5 mark of 5-1. The NAIA provisional mark is 5-3.
“Ashley has been flirting with that provisional qualifier mark for the past couple weeks,” Schafer said. “She’s been jumping with great confidence. Her height in the high jump has been such that she could get a provisional or even an automatic.”
Schafer added that the key for Stewart is to jump well early to gain confidence and use the momentum from that to excel as the event progresses.
Schafer had good things to say about all of his Hardrocker thinclads, including expecting good things from senior Colin Royer (Pierre, S.D.) in the sprint events as well as his entire distance-runners group --- men and women.
The conference will once again be very competitive on the men’s and women’s side with no clear cut frontrunner for the DAC crown.
“Our conference is one of the most quality conferences in the NAIA for track and field,” Schafer said. “With teams like Dickinson State who have been NAIA winners or runners-up (during outdoor season) on the men’s side and Black Hills State with their quality women’s program ---- the conference isn’t any less tough than the national level will be.”
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.
The work from which this copy was made did not include a formal copyright notice. This work may be protected by U. S. copyright law (Title 17, United States Code), which governs reproduction, distribution, public display, and other uses of protected works. Uses may be allowed with permission from the copyright holder, if the copyright on the work has expired, or if the use is fair use or within another legal exemption. The user of this work is responsible for compliance with the law.
Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.