By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
SPEARFISH, S.D. --- The South Dakota School of Mines men’s and women’s indoor track teams had a very good showing this past weekend at the Dakota Athletic Conference Indoor Championships in Spearfish.
The Lady Hardrockers scored 45.83 points for fifth place while the SDM men’s teams collected 75 points for fourth place.
“I was very pleased with the way the women competed. It was indicative of us to move up from sixth (a year ago) to fifth in the team standings is just tremendous,” said Hardrocker head track coach Jerry Schafer. “We think that will give a little boost going into the outdoor season.”
The SDM women improved 10 points from last year’s indoor meet.
One of the main reasons for that was the individual effort of Hardrocker sophomore Shannon Hellman. The Rapid City native scored 33.5 of the team’s total points which was also the most of any athlete at Saturday’s meet. Hellman was named the DAC Indoor Outstanding female track athlete as well as the DAC female MVP. Hellman won the 55-meter hurdles (8.11 seconds), the 200 dash (25.83), the 400 dash (59.22) and took fifth in the 55 dash (7.66). She set new SDM school records in the 55 dash, 200 dash and 400 dash and set a new DAC record in the 55 hurdles. Also her time in the 400 is the best indoor or outdoor in Hardrocker history.
“She had a very good day. We asked her to do something very difficult (run four events all so close together),” Schafer said. “Her performances in the 55 high hurdles, the 200 and the 400 were just incredible.”
Hellman is automatically qualified for the NAIA National meet in the 55 hurdles and 200 dash and provisionaled in the 400 and 55 dash. She will more than likely just concentrate on the 55 hurdles at the national meet, which is March 8-10 in Johnson City, Tenn.
The Lady Hardrocker high jumpers also had a good day, finishing second and fifth in the competition. Jenny Strong (Upton, Wyo.) recorded her second best jump of her indoor season, clearing 5-feet-1-iches to give her a tie for second place. She was very close to clearing 5-3, which would have been a provisional height. Teammate Ashley Stewart (Scotland, S.D.) also cleared 5-1 and settled for fifth place. Schafer said she also had some close calls at the provisional standard. Beth Hansen (Baltic, S.D.) also competed in the high jump, clearing a season-best height of 4-8 for 10th place.
Strong also competed in the triple jump where she earned seventh place with a leap of 32-3.50.
Samantha Diede (Huron) put for a great effort as well, racing in both the mile and half miles runs. In the mile, she took ninth with a time of 5:57 and then came back with a season best 2:43.46 mark in the 800 for 11th place.
“Sam gave us a great double in the mile and the half,” Schafer said. “She ran a season-best performance in the half after already running the mile.”
On the men’s side, automatic qualifier Eric Voorhees (Gillette, Wyo.) took third in the shot put with a throw of 51-6.25
“Eric gave us a solid performance in the shot put,” Schafer added. Teammate and fellow shot putter Matt Deardoff (Brandon) had a personal best throw of 45-8.5 to earn eight place. The distance runners came through in a big way for the Hardrockers.
Senior Shane Hague (New Underwood) turned in a school record-breaking time in the 800. He won the event in a very tight race in a time of 1:57.60, inching out a Black Hills State opponent as well as fellow teammate Colton Reid (Colstrip, Mont.) who took third with a mark of 1:57.76.
“It was a tremendous race. All three of them were within 16th hundredth of a second of each other,” Schafer said. “It was the race of the day.”
Both Reid and Hague also earned provisional qualifying times in that race.
Senior Jake Donnelly (Elk Point) was another Hardrocker that was an event winner, posting the fastest time in the 200 dash with a 22.54. Donnelly also recorded a 6.66 in the final of the 55 dash for fourth place.
Schafer was also very pleased with his athletes in the 3,000 run. The race was run in two heats. Hardrocker Andy Lein (Gordon, Neb.) won the first heat with a time of 9:59.33 which placed him sixth overall. Nate Hicks (Utica, S.D.) took fourth overall with a 9:29.79in the second heat and Marcus Moor (Kadoka) earned seventh place in the race clocking a 10:04.59 from the second heat.
“We got 10 points from the 3,000 run. We weren’t’ sure that we would get any points from them,” Schafer said. “So I was pleased with our distance runners.”
Other men’s highlights include: Chandler Caldwell (Thornton, Colo.) finished third in the pole vault (15-0); Colin Royer (Ft. Pierre) had a season-best time in the 200 for eighth place (23.38); Jason Simmons (New Underwood) was12th in the 200; Mark Wager (Gettysburg) had his best ever indoor time in the 400 with a mark of 51.61 for eighth place; Scott Anderson (Huron) was 12th in the 800 (2:02.14) and teammate Rob Hahn (Sioux Falls) was a spot back in 13th with a 2:06.53; Kattke earned ninth in the 5,000 (16:37.40) and Tyler Flattum (Bristol) improved his provisional time in the 55 hurdles, finishing with a 8.08 for third.
The South Dakota School of Mines men team was also represented in all three relay events. The Hardrockers took third in the 4x400, sixth in the 4x200 and fourth in the 4x800.
“The relays were outstanding,” Schafer said. “(The 4x400 team) gave a pretty good performance. We battled with Black Hills State in the slow heat and we ended up second in that heat --- third overall.
“It was a total team effort. I was very excited with the way our kids stepped up and competed. There were a couple events where I thought we would get some more points and didn’t, but we stepped up in other areas and we were quite surprised. The kids are continuing a tradition that they started last year during the outdoor conference meet.”
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