Five USD athletes qualify for U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships


VERMILLION, S.D.—Five Coyote track and field athletes will represent the University of South Dakota at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships held July 25-28 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The top-three athletes in each event will represent the United States at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, at the end of September.

Entering the field at No. 1 in the men’s pole vault, junior Chris Nilsen is set to compete in his third-straight U.S. Championships. Nilsen vaulted his U.S.-leading height of 19 feet, 6 ¼ inches, to defend his collegiate national title at the NCAA Championships in June. The three-time NCAA Champion and six-time All-American has five jumps over the Olympic standard of 19-0 ¼ this year, clearing the bar 11 times in his career.

Nilsen has a pair of top-three finishes at his first two U.S. Championship meets. He finished runner-up to 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks a year ago, although there was no World Championships to qualify for in 2018. Nilsen made Team USA to cap off his freshman campaign in 2017, having placed third at the meet. He just missed the finals at the 2017 IAAF World Championships held in London.

USATF has already announced that Nilsen will represent Team USA at the 2019 Pan American Games to be held August 6-10 in Lima, Peru.

Coyote alumna Emily Grove, who joined Nilsen at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, will compete at her sixth U.S. Championship meet in the women’s pole vault. Grove enters the competition with the seventh-best mark this spring at 15-1 ½, which she vaulted at the Drake Relays. A six-time All-American for the Coyotes, Grove still holds both the indoor and outdoor school records.

Senior Lara Boman returns to the U.S. Championships for the second-straight year. Boman will look to improve upon her 12th-place finish in the women’s hammer throw from 2018. She has a season best of 211-7 from the Summit League Championships this spring. Boman holds USD’s school record with her personal best of 213-9 last season.

The high jump duo of junior Zack Anderson and freshman Jack Durst will make its debut at the U.S. Championship meet. Anderson enters the competition with the ninth-best mark in the field at 7-4 ¼ from the Summit League Championships while Durst enters 13th with his indoor height of 7-2 ½ from the Dakota Realty Alumni Meet. A two-time All-American at USD, Anderson took fourth at the U.S. Junior Championships following his freshman campaign in 2017. Anderson and Durst are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in program history both indoors and outdoors.

Warner to sing National Anthem

While he will not be racing on the track, Coyote senior music major Eldon Warner will be performing the national anthem at the U.S. Championships on Sunday, July 28th. Warner capped off his collegiate running career in the quarterfinals of the 1,500 meters at the NCAA West Preliminary, breaking his own school record with a time of 3:43.15.

Schedule of Coyotes in Action

Saturday, July 27

TV Schedule: NBC Sports Gold at 1 p.m. | NBC from 3-5 p.m.

12:30 p.m. Women’s Hammer Throw, Lara Boman

2 p.m. Men’s Pole Vault, Chris Nilsen

Sunday, July 28th

TV Schedule: NBC Sports Gold at 3 p.m. | NBCSN from 6-7 p.m. | NBC from 7-8 p.m.

4:35 p.m. Men’s High Jump, Zack Anderson and Jack Durst

5:10 p.m. Women’s Pole Vault, Emily Grove

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