Chandler Caldwell makes a leap to win the pole vault event at a meet held earlier this season. Caldwell was named the most vaulaube senior in the DAC at the conference meet Sunday in Jamestown N.D. Photo by Brad Blume
‘Rocker thinclads answer call at DAC meet
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
JAMESTOWN, N.D. --- Despite the unseasonable weather and large amount of snow dumped on the ground over the weekend, the Dakota Athletic Conference track and field outdoor meet was eventually held taking place in Jamestown, N.D., on Sunday.
The South Dakota School of Mines had an exceptional day, as the Hardrockers took two event titles and earned a number of personal-best and season best marks in several other events.
The Hardrockers also earned a prestigious individual honor as SDM pole vaulter Chandler Caldwell was named most valuable senior in the conference. Caldwell, who has been the event winner in the pole vault at a majority of the meets he competed in this spring, followed suit Sunday, taking top honors after a vault of 15-feet-3.75 inches. Caldwell qualified for the NAIA National Outdoor Meet later this month. He earned All American honors at the NAIA Indoor Meet back in March and hopes to do the same at the outdoor meet. The Hardrockers’ other event winner, senior Tyler Flattum, has also had a consistent outdoors’ season. After having the top time in the quarterfinals of the 110-meter high hurdles of 14.98 seconds, Flattum improved on that mark in the finals, winning the race with a time of 14.87. Flattum has also already qualified for the NAIA meet and also competed at the National Indoor Meet as well. Flattum also ran in the 100 dash Sunday. He finished seventh in the finals clocking an 11.51.
Other Hardrocker thinclads answered the call by performing in events they have not previously competed in. Brittney Hovdenes, a Hardrocker freshman from Rapid City, debuted in the 400 intermediate hurdles, finishing in a time of 1:13.90 for ninth place, freshman Everett Brill gave the javelin a try, taking sixth after a throw of 137-5 and freshman Kim Kerce ran her first ever 10,000, where she did very well, coming through with a third-place showing in a time of 47:10.05.
SDM improved on 10 personal-best marks and tallied four season best times while competing at the DAC meet.
They personal best improvements were set by: freshman Kendra Crisman took fourth in the 800 (2:25.49) and was just one second off the SDM school record, Molly Vukelich placed ninth in the 5,000 run (23:18.63); Hovdenes in the hurdles as well as the 3,000 steeple chase, where she took sixth with a mark of 12:45.64; freshman Lucas Fried earned sixth in the men’s 3,000 steeplechase (10:14.94), Nathan Snyder in the shot put and the discus. He took 11th in the shot put (40-0.5) and was eighth in the discus (130-6); Brill in the javelin as well as the shot put, where he settled for 14th place (32-2.25) and Kerce in the 10K.
“I am very pleased with how competitive our athletes were at the conference meet,” said Hardrocker head coach Jerry Schafer. “There were several cases where our athletes outperformed where they were on the (DAC) performance list.”
The ‘Rocker thinclads that bettered their season marks were: sophomore Katrina Donovan in the discus where she took 10th with a throw of 120-8; sophomore John Heine in the 200, where he earned 11th place with a mark of 23.10; and the men’s 4x100 team (made up of Colin Royer, Flattum, Heine and Dustin Jordan took fifth in a time of 44.20.
Senior Rob Hahn was another SDM thinclad that earned a season-best time. The Sioux Falls native competed in the 1,500 where he clocked a time of 4:09.32 to secure fourth place.
“Rob Hahn ran an incredible 1,500 race,” Schafer said. “He overcame a 40-meter deficit on the last lap, coming from fifth place to earn fourth. It was a tremendous extra effort.
“It was those types of performances all day long that make me proud to be head coach of the ‘Rockers.”
With the DAC meet in the books, the majority of the track team is done for the season. Flattum and Caldwell will travel to Dickinson this weekend for a meet to prepare for the NAIA National Championships May 22-24 in St. Louis, MO. Hardrocker Vedvei earns prestigious NAIA honor
RAPID CITY --- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology women’s basketball standout Melanie Vedvei was recently awarded the 2008 Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award for NAIA Region III.
This award is named after Dr. Walker, President emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee who served as president through the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. Dr. Walker is a graduate of Benedict College (S.C.) and is a former president of the NAIA.
“It’s a really big honor,” Vedvei said of receiving the award. “It speaks not only what you can do on the court, but off it as well.”
The award, considered one of the most prestigious awards in the NAIA, was created as part of the NAIA’s association with Citizenship Through Sports Alliance (CTSA). The award honors an NAIA student-athlete who excels in athletics and academics and is committed to the Champions of Character program’s five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
“Melanie typifies this award in every facet of it,” said Lady Hardrocker basketball head coach Barb Felderman. “The integrity, the servant leadership of her team, the respect she givers her teammates and opponents, she is responsible for everything she does. And her true sportsmanship showed through after she had her unfortunate accident.”
Vedvei went down with a season ending knee injury in early January. She tried to come back at the end of the season but the injury was too severe. Despite missing a third of her final season, Vedvei still managed to break the NAIA careers steals record, only to have her record of 420 broken by another athlete later in the season. She was also just four assists away from holding the school career assists record as well.
Vedvei, a native of Lake Preston, S.D., still earned a long list of accolades starting with a second straight selection to the NAIA Div. II All American First Team. She also earned NAIA Scholar Athlete honors, was a DAC first team selection and received DAC scholar honors as well.
“Melanie is a wonderful person and I am blessed to have been able to coach her,” Felderman added.
The Industrial Engineering major also holds a large number of SD School of Mines women’s basketball records. She is the second all time leading scorer with 1,972 points. She also has every steals record that the Lady Hardrockers have --- career steals (420), steals in a season (124) and steals in a game (11). She also holds the record for most career free throws made at 555 as well as owning the most field goals attempted in a game at 36.
Vedvei finished the year with 399 points, 121 total rebounds, 110 assists and 87 steals.
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