COLLEGE STATION, Texas—South Dakota sophomore Chris Nilsen finished runner-up in the NCAA Indoor Championships pole vault competition Friday at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
The defending indoor champion, Nilsen made 18 feet, 4 1/2 inches, on his first attempt to seal a spot in the top two. Nilsen tallied four first-attempt makes with only one miss prior to the final height of 18-6 1/2. Nilsen earns his third career All-America first team finish with all three performances placing in the top three of the field.
Six vaulters took a crack at the final height, but only Kansas junior Hussain Alhizam cleared it. Alhizam posted a career day, initially clearing a personal best 18-6 1/2 to win the event before advancing on to make 18-8 1/4.
Earlier this season, Nilsen vaulted the fifth-best height in NCAA indoor history by clearing 19-0 1/4.
Nilsen has the most NCAA Division I All-America accolades by a Coyote male. USD alumnae Emily Grove and Bethany (Buell) Firsick earned six and five, respectively, in the women’s pole vault.
Senior Shanice Cannigan finished 15th in the pentathlon with 3,943 points. Cannigan tallied her highest point total in the 60-meter hurdles with a clocking of 8.62 seconds. Her best finish came in the 800 meters, where she took seventh in 2:18.85.
Cannigan earns All-America second team honors for her performance.
Coyote sophomore Helen Falda wraps up competition for the Coyotes at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Falda competes in the women’s pole vault at 4 p.m. today (Saturday).
NCAA Division II
PITTSBURG, Kan. — Michaela Dendinger of Wayne State College set a new school record with a mark of 67-0 to finish second in the weight throw Friday evening at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas.
Dendinger entered the national championship with the second-best mark in NCAA Division II. In prelims, the graduate of Hartington Public HS (Coleridge) had her best throw on her first attempt with a mark of 65-1 1/4 and qualified for the finals with the second-best throw.
Dendinger’s first throw in finals produced a new school record as she recorded a mark of 67-0 to eclipse her own school record of 65-6 set two weeks ago at the NSIC Indoor Championships in Mankato. After fouling on her second throw in finals, Dendinger ended finals with a mark of 65-7.
Southern Connecticut State’s Destiny Coward won the event with a throw of 68-2 1/2.
Dendinger will complete again today (Saturday) in the shot put scheduled for 5:05 p.m. at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships. She enters the event with the top throw in NCAA Division II at 54-10 1/2.
Also on Friday, freshman Logan Hansen (Hurley) helped the University of Sioux Falls men’s distance medley relay team to All-American honors.
Hansen teamed with Billy Beseman, Zach Lundberg and Mason Phillips for a school-record time of 9:55.01, finishing eighth. Hansen ran the 400-meter leg, clocking a 51.19 split.