Park Hill graduate Chris Nilsen earned his third straight All-American honors in the pole vault. The now-sophomore at South Dakota finished second in the pole vault in the NCAA National Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station Texas.
Nilsen cleared 18-feet, 4.5 inches, 4 inches behind national champion Hussain Alhizam of Kansas who cleared 18-8.25. Nilsen was unable to defend his indoor pole vaulting crown or replicate his performance that set the best mark in the NCAA this year after clearing 19-0.25 in Febuary at a tune up event at the University of Nebraska.
The defending indoor champion, Nilsen made 18 feet, 4 ½ 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 ½. Nilsen earns his third career All-America first team finish with all three performances placing in the top three of the field.
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.
Pirates compete in D-II finals
Platte County graduate NaRon Rollins helped Pittsburg State to its first ever NCAA Division II National Championship on Saturday, March 10 at the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburg, Kan.
Rollins grabbed two All-American finishes in the sprints and scored valuable team points to see the Gorillas edge defending champion Tiffin University, 49-48.
He finished third in the 200 meters in 21.17 seconds and he placed fifth overall in the 60 meters (6.73).
Pittsburg State University built a lead then held on in dramatic fashion to claim the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Indoor Track & Field National Championship Saturday.
West Texas A&M University captured the 2018 NCAA Division II Women’s Indoor Track & Field National Championship.
The Pitt State men claimed the program’s first ever national championship by edging two-time defending national champion Tiffin University by a point when the Dragons finished ninth in the night’s final event, the 4x400-meter relay.
Adams State College finished third with 44 points, while Ashland University (40.5) and Texas A&M University-Commerce (29) rounded out the top five team positions.
The WTAMU women compiled 53 points to secure the national title.
The Pitt State men’s previous best indoor national finish came in 1995 when the Gorillas placed third overall.
Former Platte County Pirate Kevin Schultz, who attends Northwest Missouri State also competed at nationals. The junior finished 13th in the high jump, clearing 6-8.