SACRAMENTO, Calif. (SDS) – Senior Rachel King becomes the first South Dakota State Jackrabbit to qualify out of the west preliminaries for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in consecutive seasons.
She earned an automatic qualifying spot in the 3,000m steeplechase by winning the third and final heat of the west prelims on Friday night in Hornet Stadium (9:50.15).
With her personal-best mark by 4.29 seconds, she resets the school-record mark for the sixth time in her career and added the sixth-fastest time out of the preliminary event this year.
With an NCAA Championship qualification last year, she became the first SDSU female student-athlete to compete on the track at the championships in DI era.
Now this year, she remains the lone female Jack to accomplish the feat while also being the first Jackrabbit to qualify in back-to-back seasons during the east/west regional preliminary era and the first since the 2009-2010 seasons when Sara Ackman did it in the discus throw during the Midwest/West Regional transition (2009 the Jacks were in the Midwest Regional, 2010 the Jacks were in the West Regional).
All five competitors ahead of King scored personal-best marks while 10 of the 12 advancing, including the Jackrabbit, re-wrote their collegiate bests. In the east preliminaries, the winning time was 9:52.48 (Auburn’s Joyce Kimeli) and Providence’s Brianna Ilarda has the best PR in the event out of the east (9:50.42).
The senior will go into Austin with the seventh-best mark on the season in the NCAA, with the six better marks also coming out of the west region.
Sophomore Coby Hilton was the only other Jackrabbit competing on Friday, finishing sixth in the second heat of the first-round 200m competition (41st overall, 21.35). He became the first male Jackrabbit to compete at the NCAA DI West Prelims in the 200m and only the second Jackrabbit to compete in both the 100m and 200m at the prelims in the same year (Carly Carper in 2015).
Last night, the Marshall, Minn. native finished the first round of the 100m with a seventh-place finish in the opening heat of the 100m (10.63), 43rd overall.
Tomorrow will be another historical accomplishment for Hilton as he and the rest of the 4x100m relay squad will be the first relay team competing at the NCAA West Preliminaries. Joining him will be freshman Emmanual Phoulom-Smith, sophomore Daniel Clarke, and junior Sam Zenner.
KING BREAKS DOWN THE RACE
“Tonight went exaclty how I wanted it to go,” King explained. “Going into this year, I wanted to reach the 9:50’s mark at regionals to get a good spot into the national championships and so tonight was done perfectly.”
With the senior about 10m away from the heat leader, King made a last-leg surge for the heat win and an auto-bid into the championships at Austin on June 5-8.
“On that last lap, Prouse was ahead of me quite bit and the (stadium) announcer kept saying that the third- and fourth-place runners were closing in and so I just kept pushing,” King said. “I got over the last water barrier really well and I figured I would at least have a chance to catch her.”
“I noticed she wasn’t sprinting as hard and I didn’t want to leave anything to chance so I kept sprinting through to sneak by her,” King said. “Both Rod (DeHaven, coach) and I know I have an incredible kick so as long as I stay close and feel good, anything can happen.”
The feeling of going to Austin has yet to hit the St. Michael, Minn. native.
“It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet,” King laughed, only a couple hours after the race. “I was confident in my ability and felt good about my chances but there are a lot of talented girls and I was pretty nervous before the race.”
“But today was perfect.” King continued. “My legs felt great, I got over the barriers really smooth and we got out to a good pace.”
As she sets her eyes on her second trip to the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships, she plans to have a different strategy than before.
“Last year, I went home for awhile and I think that allowed me to focus on other thing,” King explained. “This year, I plan to stay in Brookings to train and focus on running.”
As she resets her focus, she feels her experience will carry her through to her goal this year.
“My goal last year was to get to the national championships, but then I didn’t really have a goal after that,” King said. “This year I want to be an All-American and I have the feeling and experience of being there and competing with the other girls.”
“I think the best way to describe her race tonight was courageous,” Coach Rod DeHaven stated. “I don’t think she felt great but really rallied to punch her ticket to Austin.”
“We are all happy for her to get through, especially with the degree of difficulty there can be on the track in this situation,” DeHaven explained. “But she’s a senior with a lot of maturity and knows what she has to do.”
“I think moving forward, she will rely on a lot of her experiences from last year,” DeHaven continued. “I think she knows what she has to do and will be able to learn from last year to do what she needs to do.”
King’s full-length race.
RECAPPING THURSDAY AT WEST PRELIMS
Senior Kyle Burdick has now qualified for his third consecutive NCAA West Preliminary quarterfinals appearance in the 1,500m, finishing with an automatic bid and eighth-best mark among 48 competitors.
The Rapid City, S.D. native finished third in the Heat 2 of the 1,500m (3:44.95) to earn the auto-qualifying spot and is positioned to qualify for his second trip to the national championships in Austin with the eighth-best mark out of the region so far.
He will compete in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 8:45 p.m. CT for a chance to be top-12 in the region and earn a trip to Austin. The senior is also scheduled to compete in the 5,000m on Saturday at 10:45 p.m. CT.
Sophomore Trent Francom was the closest Jackrabbit to qualify for a trip to the NCAA Championships, missing the cut by just four inches – short of his PR and outdoor school record by 4.5 inches.
In his second consecutive appearance in the NCAA West Prelims, the Huron, S.D. native finished 14th (17-01.00) in the pole vault competition, improving his mark and place-finish from his freshman debut (28th, 16-04.75).
In the NCAA East Preliminaries, Francom may have made the national championship trip as the last qualifying marks were what he had reached this afternoon (17-01.00).
Another close qualifier was senior Cal Lawton, becoming the first 800m runner outside of the group to qualify for the quarterfinals with a sixth-place finish (1:50.11) in the third heat, 19th overall. Being just 0.02 seconds from his outdoor personal-best and tied No. 4 all-time mark for SDSU, he missed the last spot by 0.17 seconds.
Freshman Addison Eisenbeisz placed 43rd (5-05.00) in the high jump at her first-ever NCAA West Prelims. It’s the best high jump mark by a Jackrabbit since Mary Wirth qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2015 (5-10.00).
Jackrabbits will continue to compete throughout tomorrow at the NCAA West Preliminaries for a chance to join King and compete in Austin, Texas at the NCAA Championships on June 5-8.
– SATURDAY –
4x100m Relay: 18th – Quarterfinal – Saturday at 8:15 p.m. CT
(Fr. Emmanual Phoulom-Smith, So. Coby Hilton, So. Daniel Clarke, Jr. Sam Zenner)
1,500m: 25th – Sr. Kyle Burdick (Quarterfinal – Saturday at 8:45 p.m. CT)
5,000m: 46th – Sr. Kyle Burdick (Quarterfinal – Saturday at 10:45 p.m. CT)
For more information on the South Dakota State cross country and track and field teams, follow the Jackrabbits on Twitter (@GoJacksTFXC) and Instagram (@GoJacksTFXC), and like us on Facebook (/GoJacksTFXC).
JACKRABBIT INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (WEEKEND COMBINED)
100m – Men – First Round
43. Hilton, Coby (10.63)
Sophomore Coby Hilton finished his 100m season by placing seventh in the opening heat of the 100m, 43rd overall. He becomes the second-ever Jackrabbit to compete in the 100m NCAA first round as teammate Daniel Clarke competed in the event last year.
200m – Men – First Round
41. Hilton, Coby (21.35)
Sophomore Coby Hilton finished sixth in the second heat of the 200m first round in Sacramento. He becomes the first male Jackrabbit to compete in the event first male to compete in both the 100m and 200m at the west prelims and first to compete in the 200m.
800m – Women – First Round
38. Covey, Oksana (2:09.57)
Sophomore Oksana Covey finished seventh in the fourth heat of the 800m competition, improving her mark from her 2017 NCAA West Prelim attempt (29th, 2:10.09).
1,500m – Men – First Round
8. Burdick, Kyle (3:44.95Q)
Senior Kyle Burdick was the lone Jackrabbit to qualify for the next round in the NCAA competition. He will compete in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 8:45 p.m. CT. He placed third in the second heat of the 1,500m to become an auto-qualifier into the next round.
Burdick finished 0.21 seconds from his season-best set at the Bryan Clay Invite and scored his best place-finish and mark in the first round of the event through his three attempts (qualified for the quarterfinals all three years).
He will compete in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 8:45 p.m. CT while also planning on the 5,000m competition on Saturday at 10:45 p.m. CT.
1,500m Past Results for Burdick
2019 – First Round (8th – 3:44.95)
2018 – First Round (23rd – 3:46.70) – Qtr. (18th – 3:46.66)
2017 – First Round (16th – 3:59.35) – Qtr. (7th – 3:48.15) – Semi – 13th (3:43.78)
3,000S – Women – Quarterfinal
6. King, Rachel (9:50.15)
Senior Rachel King scored her sixth school-record reset by winning the third heat of the 3,000m steeplechase and finishing the quarterfinal round with the sixth-best mark in the west region. She cut 4.29 seconds from her previous-best set at the Stanford Invite earlier this season and will have the seventh-best time in the national championships with the best marks all coming out of the west.
She remains the only female Jackrabbit to compete at the DI national championships on the track and becomes the first Jackrabbit in west prelims era to qualify in back-to-back seasons, second in DI era since Sara Ackman did it the Midwest Regionals and West Prelims (2009-2010).
High Jump – Women – First Round
43. Eisenbeisz, Addison (5-05.00)
Freshman Addison Eisenbeisz placed 43rd in her first-ever NCAA West Prelims. It’s the best high jump mark by a Jackrabbit since Mary Wirth qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2015 (5-010.00).
Pole Vault – Men – First Round
14. Francom, Trent (17-01.00)
Sophomore Trent Francom finished just four inches away from the last qualifying spots into the NCAA Championships at Austin, Texas, 4.5 inches from his PR and school record, however, he improved his place-finish and mark from his first-ever NCAA appearance (28th, 16-04.75).
The last qualifying spots at the NCAA East Prelims was 17-01.00.
Hammer Throw – Men – First Round
39. Ammons, Logan (189-10.00)
Ammons finished 10th in the opening flight of the hammer throw, finishing 39th overall. It was his first career appearance in the NCAA West Prelims.