AUSTIN, Texas—South Dakota natives Ben Hammer and Zack Anderson wrapped up the 2019 NCAA Championships for the Coyotes on Friday evening at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

In his final meet as a Coyote, Hammer garnered his first career All-America accolade. He finished 11th in the field for second-team All-America. His best mark came on his first throw of the competition, sending the discus a season best 189 feet, 2 inches.

Anderson cleared the opening pair of bars on his first attempt, but missed all three tries at 7-1 ¾. He finished one spot out of All-America recognition, taking 17th with his top height of 7-0 ½. This marked one of the toughest men’s high jump competitions of the century, with it being the first time since 2001 that it took a make of 7-3 to score in the top-eight.

Hailing from Dell Rapids (Hammer) and Parker (Anderson), the duo were the only South Dakota natives competing in the NCAA Championships for the second-straight year.

South Dakota takes home three All-America honors on the weekend. Junior Chris Nilsen successfully defended his crown in the men’s pole vault, junior Helen Falda earned first-team honors in the women’s pole vault and Hammer added second-team honors in the discus tonight.


AUSTIN, Texas — South Dakota junior pole vaulter Helen Falda picked up her fifth career All-America honors with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships inside Mike A. Myers Stadium. Senior Lara Boman capped off her career in the hammer throw on Thursday evening as well.

Falda jumped 14 feet, 3 ¼ inches, to garner her second All-America first team accolade and fifth overall. Seventh place marks her best performance in five national meets, improving upon her eighth-place finish as a freshman at UT Arlington.

In a field loaded with 15 seniors, Falda will be the top returner next year. She was one of just two non-seniors in the top-15 as well.

“Pole Vault U” has become a standard of success for the Coyotes under the helm of coach Derek Miles. His program has four NCAA Championships and 22 All-America accolades since 2011. In addition to Falda’s first-team performance tonight, junior Chris Nilsen captured an NCAA title yesterday with a new NCAA meet record of 19-6 ½ to highlight a successful weekend for Miles’ pole vault crew.

Boman earned honorable mention status in the hammer throw to wrap up her Coyote career. The former soccer player sent the implement 202-8 for 19th place, improving upon her 22nd-place ranking entering the competition. This marked Boman’s second-straight appearance at the outdoor championships.

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