Stories of the Year, No. 9: Another top 2 finish for Blue Hawk trackAnother year meant another outstanding track and field team at Dickinson State.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Another year meant another outstanding track and field team at Dickinson State.
In 2010, the Blue Hawk men finished as the NAIA runner-up for the fourth consecutive season and improved their streak of top-two national finishes to eight straight years during the outdoor national championships the final weekend of May in Marion, Ind.
In June, the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named them the state’s College Male Team of the Year.
Nonetheless, Blue Hawks head coach Pete Stanton said another outstanding season was more of a surprise than it had been in previous years.
“As far as talent-wise, you don’t really know because you don’t know how some of the other teams stacked up,” Stanton said. “It probably wasn’t as expected this year.”
Senior Sean Pickstock winning run of 46.25 seconds in the 400 meters gave DSU its seventh national title in the event in the past nine years. Pickstock had finised as the runner-up to teammate Ramon Miller in 2009.
“We’ve been very spoiled with that,” Stanton said of DSU’s success in the 400.
Senior Allan Ayala won his third consecutive championship in the 400 hurdles with a school-record time of 50.69 seconds.
The Blue Hawk men earned four more All-America nods in other events.
One of those came from junior Jamal Forbes, whose second-place finish of 10.48 seconds in the 100 at the national meet came after he spent nearly two months with the fastest time of the season.
Forbes’ 10.28-second finish was one of six school records set by DSU men and women in 2010. The record came during the first meet held on Roger Huffman Track at the Badlands Activities Center on April 9.
In the Dakota Athletic Conference, the DSU men won their seventh straight outdoor title and sixth consecutive indoor championship.
“I think you always expect, because you have some talent back, you’re expectations are always there that you have a chance,” Stanton said.
DSU’s season wasn’t without its disappointments though.
Late injuries to senior Dominic Goodman and junior Jermaine Christie kept the Blue Hawk men from making a more competitive run at national champion Wayland Baptist (Texas).
Then there was the first day of nationals, when mighty Kelsey struck out.
Kelsey Aide, perhaps one of the most celebrated female athletes in DSU history, failed to win her fifth overall NAIA championship in the pole vault when she was unable to clear her opening height.
“Through all that, it was a great run to be able to get back at the nationals and still get in that top two,” Stanton said.
Looking ahead, the Blue Hawks may be in for a real challenge as they try to stay in the top two for a ninth consecutive season.
Aside from Forbes, the Blue Hawks return a handful of All-America performers, including Michael Sands (sprints) and Kurt McCormack (triple jump).
“A lot of things have to happen, but our senior class is good, our senior class is strong,” Stanton said. “A lot of it is going to fall on their shoulders to perform and help bring some of those young athletes along.”
And if the Blue Hawks don’t get back to the top two in the nation in 2011? Stanton won’t be too disheartened.
“I’ve told several people, we’ve been awfully spoiled in the last seven or eight years,” Stanton said.