For the University of North Dakota track and field team, what a difference a week – and a trip to the West Coast – makes.
The Fighting Hawks capped off a three-day, three-meet jaunt to California on Saturday with a school record, a pair of NCAA Regional qualifying marks and a host of personal records at the Beach Invitational.
It was a far cry from the team’s weather-induced tribulations of a week ago when one of UND’s scheduled meets was cancelled and another was halted after one day.
“We had a lot of great marks,” said UND Head Coach Kevin Galbraith. “The good weather helped.”
Indeed. UND, which had been forced to endure three meet cancellations during the month of April alone, was finally able to get down to business in the Sunshine State this weekend.
Junior thrower Molli Detloff was the story during the first days of the trip, smashing her own school hammer throw record on each of those todays. Today, classmate Kyley Foster took center stage. Foster toppled her own school record in the pole vault, maxing out at 13 feet, 9 ¼ inches (4.20 meters) for the third-best mark in Big Sky Conference history.
It took down her previous record of 13-03 ¾ from last season and it also qualified the Detroit Lakes, Minn., native for the NCAA Regionals.
“Today was truly incredible,” said Foster. “It was a beautiful day with great competitors, my teammates, coaches and friends supporting me and God watching over me. It was a perfect day.”
Foster’s jumps coach, UND assistant Joe Silvers, was effusive in his praise for his star pupil.
“Kyley had a great day. She really thrives when she has other great competitors around her,” said Silvers. “She was really consistent in her run and each jump she just got better and better with lining things up and working the top end of the jump. It was a lot of fun to see the excitement on her face when she made 13-09.25.
“This has been a great weekend and I am proud of how the jumpers competed and how the team excelled.”
Detloff, meanwhile, followed up her first two record-breaking days with another memorable performance, this time in the discus. Already the Big Sky’s top-ranked thrower in the event, Detloff increased her season-best to 176 feet, 7 inches (53.83) today to qualify for regionals.
“Oh my gosh, she exceeded all expectations [this weekend],” said Galbraith. “What can you say about her? I’m glad she’s on our team! As the best athlete in the conference last year, she’s certainly ready to do that again, so that’s great for us.”
Freshman Destinee Haas had a PR in the discus, recording a throw of 157-11 (48.13m).
UND also had a strong day on the track with a handful of PR and several other near-PRs.
Freshman Josh Pillath was one of those PR, clocking 14.65 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles. Another freshman, Aleksandra Anderson, registered a PR of 14.86 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles.
The Fighting Hawks will make their way back to Grand Forks on Sunday with another full week on the schedule, including the Cobber Twilight (April 24), Kip Janvrin Open (April 26-27), Drake Relays (April 26-28) and Ron Masanz Classic (April 28).