Hawks hope for big things at national meet
The indoor season for the Dickinson State track and field team is quick and to the point.
If an athlete is good enough to qualify for the NAIA national indoor meet in the four meets that DSU competes, odds are they belong there.
The Blue Hawks begin the national meet Thursday at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, and head coach Pete Stanton said he feels all 10 athletes the team that have qualified have legitimate shots to be all-America finishers when the meet concludes Saturday.
"It's not only a good crew of athletes, but I think it's a group of athletes where all of them that are here have the capability to be right in the mix in all of their events," Stanton said. "That's exciting for them and for our program."
Many of DSU's top men qualified for the national meet, including four in two different events.
Junior Nathan Magstadt will compete in the 60-meter hurdles and run the 400 in the distance medley relay along with freshman Dante Carter, who has the second-fastest 1,000-meter time in the NAIA at 2 minutes, 27.69 seconds and will handle the mile portion of the DMR.
"We're already excited for the DMR," said Magstadt. "When we ran our qualifying time, we had one other team for competition and we ended up lapping them in the race. All of us can run faster times than we ran in our preliminary qualifying time, so we all are just going to run hard and just try and get to finals. Once finals roll around, it's do or die, it's go time."
Dustin Sandbak will run the 800 and Denis Patrick the 1,200 in the DMR.
DSU sprinters Fred Agbaje and Breyan Miller will compete in both the 60 and 200 meters. Agbaje has the second-fastest 200 time in the NAIA at 21.84 seconds and is ninth in the 60 (6.87). Miller is 10th in the 200 (22.26) and 15th in the 60.
Carter said both DSU's sprinters and distance runners should benefit greatly from the more open track surface at the Spire Institute.
"I think we've had the disadvantage of running on smaller tracks with tighter curves," Carter said. "Someone like me who needs that long stride, I'm a little bit taller, I definitely can use it to my advantage."
Junior triple jumper Brady Sundheim and junior high jumper Andrew Knebel come into nationals with marks that are nowhere near their career bests. Knebel, an indoor all-America last season, has topped out at 6 feet, 8¼ inches while Sundheim's best leap is 46-8.
Stanton said he's been reassuring the jumpers that it shouldn't bother them that they're not ranked in the top 10 in the NAIA coming into the national meet.
"It doesn't matter what's on the performance board, it's who performs when it counts," Stanton said.
DSU's lone women's competitor is Hailey Schaper, a junior from Killdeer High School who will compete in the high jump. She ranks 14th in the NAIA with mark of 5-4¼.
"She's a little bit more of a slow starter and better in the outdoor," Stanton said. "She certainly has the ability to be an all-American."