DSU looking to load up for nationals
Getting as many athletes as possible to the NAIA indoor national championships is DSU track and field coach Pete Stanton's goal for the weekend. Even though the Blue Hawks have several already qualified, they hope to use the Dakota Athletic Confe...
Getting as many athletes as possible to the NAIA indoor national championships is DSU track and field coach Pete Stanton's goal for the weekend.
Even though the Blue Hawks have several already qualified, they hope to use the Dakota Athletic Conference championships to load up for nationals.
"We're trying to cover as many events as we can and get three in every event," Stanton said.
DSU's men team will also be looking for its fifth consecutive DAC title when the meet begins at 4 p.m. today at Black Hills State in Spearfish, S.D., and continues Saturday at 10 a.m.
Unfortunately for the Blue Hawks, they can take only three individuals per event to the national championships, meaning some of their top sprinters will be racing not only the competition, but each other, for spots on the national championship roster.
"We're looking to have our best performances of the year right now," Stanton said.
DSU currently has four qualifiers in the 200, and three in both the 100 and 400. All four sprinters who are part of the Blue Hawks' defending national champion 1,600 relay team will also have spots in individual events.
"We have a lot of depth and I think that's the big thing with us," Stanton said.
Senior Ramon Miller has the NAIA's fastest qualifying times in both the 200- and 400-meter sprints.
The Olympic silver medalist ran the 200 in 21.56 seconds to set a Bison Sports Arena record at the North Dakota State Invitational on Feb. 6. He clocked a time of 48.13 in his first 400 of the season on the banked track at the Montana State Open.
Miller is the defending national champion in the 400.
Blue Hawks junior Sean Pickstock was right behind Miller at the meet and holds the second-fastest qualifying time at 48.21.
Sophomore Kurt McCormack has the top triple jump in the nation at 48 feet, 8¾ inches.
Sophomore Jamal Forbes' time of 6.84 in the 60-meter dash is the second-fastest time on the board.
Stanton said there are also several Blue Hawks on the fence who he hopes can break through this weekend.
"We know the indoor is a short season but we'd like to, certainly across the board, have a good team effort," Stanton said.
On the women's side, Stanton said Black Hills State and Jamestown College present tough challenges and he believes it could be a three-team race for the title.
Defending national pole vault champion Kelsey Aide leads the way for the DSU women. The sophomore's jump of 12 feet, 1.5 inches is currently second-best in the nation.
The Blue Hawks have four women currently qualified for nationals and Stanton believes a few more could punch their tickets despite several athletes sitting out the winter season because they play basketball.
"We obviously want to go in there and perform as well as we can," Stanton said. "We just know on the women's side, we're going to be a lot better outdoor team than we are indoor."