EUGENE, Ore. (USD) — South Dakota fifth-year senior Helen Falda and redshirt-freshman Gen Hirata both garnered second-team All-America finishes on Thursday evening at the NCAA Championships inside Hayward Field.
Falda vaulted over 13-9 ¼ (4.20m) to finish in a tie for 10th place. Her collegiate journey came full circle, from her first collegiate NCAA Championships competing for UT Arlington in 2017 at the Historic Hayward Field to her final meet as a Coyote at the newly remodeled Hayward Field. Hailing from Torino, Italy, Falda garnered seven All-America honors in the pole vault during her collegiate career. Six of those came at South Dakota under the tutelage of Derek Miles.
Hirata finished tied for 16th with a make of 13-3 ½ (4.05m). This marked her first NCAA Outdoor Championships due to the cancellation of the 2020 outdoor season. A native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Hirata also garnered second-team All-America honors during the indoor season this past March.
South Dakota qualified a nation-leading four vaulters, two men and two women, to the NCAA Championships this weekend. Miles’ pole vault squad has totaled 31 All-America honors in the past decade.
The final Coyote to compete at the NCAA Championships this weekend is fifth-year senior Zack Anderson in the men’s high jump. That competition is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CT) Friday.