By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
VERMILLION – The South Dakota School of Mines men’s and women’s track teams took a trek across state Thursday to compete in the John Dalton Memorial Open hosted by the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.
The Hardrockers had a pair of events winners, who also happen to be the team’s only national qualifiers in Eric Voorhees (senior from Gillette, Wyo.) and Shannon Hellman (sophomore from Rapid City, S.D.).
Hellman once again flexed her competitive muscles, winning the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 8.78 seconds. She had the fastest time of the day in the prelims, clocking a 8.73, which is also a season best for her. Hellman qualified in the 60 hurdles back in December at a meet in Spearfish.
Along with the hurdles, Hellman also competed in the 60 Dash, where she netted second place in both the prelims and the finals where she finished in a time of 8 seconds. That time netted her the SDM school record and was a personal best for the Douglas High School graduate. In the prelims she had an 8.05.
Eric Voorhees also proved why he belongs at the NAIA Meet after earning first place in the shot put. Voorhees threw a distance of 51-feet 11.25 inches for the top position, which was almost two inches better than his closest competition.
“That is his second best throw of the season,” said Hardrocker head coach Jerry Schafer. “He is really starting to come around going into the conference meet and Nationals.”
Voorhees will compete in the shot put at Nationals where he currently has the 11th best distance at 52-1.25. He too earned that mark back in December at the BHSU meet.
Voorhees also competed in the weight throw where he posted a 13th-place finish with a throw of 41.11.50.
In other women’s events, Samantha Diede, a freshman from Huron, ran a competitive time in the mile, finishing in fifth place in a time of 5 minutes 55.09 seconds.
“That was Sam’s first race since December,” Schafer said. “She had a nagging injury that’s kept her out. I was pleased with the way she competed Thursday.”
The Lady Hardrocker high jumpers were also well represented at Thursday’s meet. Sophomore Ashley Stewart (Scotland, S.D.) and freshman Jenny Strong (Upton, Wyo.) both cleared 5-0. That height gave Stewart third place while Strong settled for sixth. Teammate Beth Hanson (junior from Baltic, S.D) also competed, and took 12th after a jump of 4-8 which was a season best for her.
“I think we will be pretty competitive in the high jump,” Schafer said about future meets. “If they jumped the way they did (at the USD meet), then 5-2 and even 5-4 is not out of reach.”
Clearing 5-3 is the provisional mark for the national meet in the women’s high jump.
In the men’s events, the Hardrocker distance runners continue to deliver strong showings in competition. Shane Hague (New Underwood) came through in the 800 run, finishing in fourth place for a season best mark with a time of 1:59.63; Colton Reid (Colstrip, Mont) ran a time of 4:40.86 in the mile which netted him ninth place.
In the 3,000 run, three of the four Hardrockers entered clocked their fastest times of the season. Kyle Kattke (junior from Black Hawk) came in seventh with a mark of 9:12.42 and Nate Hicks (freshman from Utica) was 12th with a 9:24.14. Marcus Moore and Andy Lein also ran the race. Moore clocked a 9:57.87 and Lein had a 9:58.11.
During the 400 dash, the Hardrocker were very competitive.
“We won three of the five heats we had athletes in,” Schafer said.
Jake Donnelly (senior from Elk Point) impressed in the 400 with a third-place finish, clocking a 51.41 for an indoor best mark, and teammate Mark Wager (Gettysburg) was a few spots back in sixth place also with an indoor best time of 51.90, which was also a season best for him and Dustin Jordan (freshman from Pierre) won his heat in a time of 55.08 for 17th overall.
Jason Simmons (New Underwood) took seventh in the 200 with a season best 23.74 and Colin Royer (Ft. Pierre) settled for 10th in the same race with a 23.82.
Matt Deardoff (sophomore from Brandon) from also had a good outing in the shot put, taking seventh with a throw of 44-10.25.
“Matt had his best series of throws this season and he was just off his personal best mark,” Schafer said. “He has been very consistent with his throws.
The SDM men also had a relay team at Thursday’s meet. The Hardrockers competed in the 4x400 relay where they took third place with a time of 3:31.52. The team is made up of Royer, Jordan, Donnelly and Wager.
With that meet in the books, that just leaves the Dakota Athletic Conference Championships next Friday and Saturday in Spearfish.
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