Nilsen up to new heights

Former Park Hill vaulter and current South Dakota sophomore Chris Nilsen vaulted higher than any other American this season when he cleared 19 feet, 2¾ inches, at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday afternoon inside Howard Wood Stadium in Sioux Falls South Dakota.

Nilsen’s 19-2¾ vault demolished the Howard Wood record, improved his own career best and surpassed his own coach, Olympic bronze medalist Derek Miles’s best-ever effort, by a centimeter. The sophomore is beyond leading the NCAA, but boasts the top American mark this season. Nilsen ranks fourth in the world behind world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie of France, Shawn Barber of Canada, and Mondo Duplantis of Sweden.

The 19-2¾ jump also is fourth all-time in NCAA Outdoor history and just under five inches short of the NCAA record of 19-7 ½ set in 1996 by Tennessee’s Lawrence Johnson.

The wins this spring have vaulted Nilsen back onto the watch list for The Bowerman Award

The Bowerman is the Heisman of collegiate track and field. It is presented annually to the most outstanding male and female athlete in the nation. The award debuted in 2009 and winners are announced at a ceremony in mid-December in conjunction with the USTFCCCA annual convention.

Nilsen has compiled a consistent spring, vaulting over 18 feet at every meet during the outdoor season. He has taken home five event titles including the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Nilsen also finished runner-up in the elite section of the Drake Relays, behind Olympic medalist Sam Kendricks.

Nilsen has been the Summit League male field athlete of the week honors three times this spring.

Nilsen has collected wins in four events including: the South Dakota Twilight meet, Pacific Coast Intercollegiate, Texas Relays and the most recent success at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays.

Nilsen vaulted 18-11 ½ at the Drake Relays, the highest vault by a collegian in the meet’s 109-year history.

Next up for Nilsen is the Summit League Championships, which are scheduled for May 10-12 in Tulsa, Okla.

Rollins top point
earner at MIAA

Former Platte County sprinter and current Pittsburg State junior NaRon Rollins added two crowns to his resume at the MIAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Sunday, May 6 at University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Rollins swept the sprints to help Pittsburg State win the men’s team title by more than 60 points.

Rollins scored 21.25 points for the Gorillas, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes and helping the 4x100m relay team finish fourth.

Rollins ran a 10.14 second race to edge Lincoln’s Roberto Smith by .02 seconds at the line. In the 200, he bested another Lincoln sprinter, Javen Gray, by .14 seconds running  a 20.75 second half lap.

Two other local athletes took home championships from the event.

Former Park Hill South runner Jordan Hammond won the 400 hurdles with a time of 58.85 seconds for Northwest Missouri State.

Former Platte County star Kevin Schultz won the decathlon event with 7,050 points for the Bearcats.