Sioux Falls, SD
South Dakota sophomore Chris Nilsen vaulted higher than any other American this season when he cleared 19 feet, 2 ¾ inches, at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday afternoon inside Howard Wood Stadium. Nilsen brought the Coyotes’ total victories at the meet to 19 with five on Saturday.
Nilsen’s 19-2 ¾ vault demolished the Howard Wood record, improved his own career best and surpassed his own coach, Olympic bronze medalist Derek Miles, 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.
He was not the only Coyote vaulter to put on a show this afternoon. Sophomore Ethan Bray and redshirt-junior Jake David both cleared 17-6 ½ for second and third place, respectively. The height is a career best for David. All three surpassed David’s Howard Wood record of 17-5 ½ from two years ago.
Senior Shanice Cannigan snatched up a pair of Howard Wood titles in the hurdles. She broke an eight-year-old meet record in the 100-meter hurdles with a clocking of 13.77 seconds. Cannigan took home gold in the event for the third-straight year. She also edged off the competition in the 400-meter hurdles to win with a time of 1:01.07.
Racing into a headwind, senior Jay Cooper captured the 110-meter hurdles with a clocking of 14.81 seconds. Cooper takes home gold in the race for the second-straight year.
Freshman Conor Penington also faced a headwind, but clocked 10.95 seconds for 100 meters to win his first individual Howard Wood Dakota Relays title as a collegian. He was a member of yesterday’s winning 4x100-meter relay.
Sophomore Ethan Toy claimed the long jump with a leap of 22-6 ¼.
Next on the slate for the Coyotes are the Summit League Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from May 10-12.
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