FORT WAYNE, IND. – A broken record, a tied record and the crowning of a defending champion highlight the first day of the 2020 Summit League Indoor Track & Field Championships Presented by the U.S. Air Force Special Warfare Friday inside the Lutheran Health Fieldhouse.
After five events scored, the North Dakota State men will enter the final day of the championships with 74 points—24 points ahead of South Dakota State (50). South Dakota (48), North Dakota (9.5), Western Illinois (5), Oral Roberts (4.5) and Purdue Fort Wayne (3) completed the first day of the competition placing third through seventh, respectively.
For the women, NDSU holds the lead going into day two with 79 points—43 points in front of South Dakota (36). South Dakota State (29), North Dakota (21), Western Illinois (20), Omaha (5), Purdue Fort Wayne (4) and Oral Roberts (1) head into the final day of the championships placed third through eighth.
The multi-events kicked off championship weekend with South Dakota’s Holly Gerberding walking home with the title. The USD junior placed first in the 60m hurdles (8.96) and notched personal-best marks in the shot put (38-00.75) and the high jump (5-02.25). Gerberding led the pentathlon through all five events and took home the gold medal with a career-best score of 3,759.
The North Dakota State women shot putters were led by Shelby Gunnells launching a mark of 55-07.50 (16.95m) to win her first career league title. Teammates Akealy Moton, Maddy Nilles, Rachel Bring, Maggie Schwarzkopf and Amanda Anderson finished 1-2-3-4-5-7 to score 35 team points.
The Bison men shot putters were paced by Kristoffer Thomsen who took home the event crown after launching a mark of 66-08.50 (20.33m) moving him up to sixth in the NCAA this season. Following Thomsen’s efforts were Alex Talley, Maxwell Otterdahl, Trevor Otterdahl, Michael Keogan and Clayton Hannula to sweep the top six places in the shot put.
South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen defended his 2019 men’s pole vault title after vaulting a height of 18-1 (5.51m) to take home the crown. Today’s victory marks the third league pole vault title in four years for the senior.
Nilsen led the pack of Coyotes to take four of the top eight spots in the pole vault. The 2018 Summit League pole vault champion Ethan Bray finished runner-up followed by Kaleb Ellis in fourth place and Nick Johnson in fifth.
History repeated itself as Oral Roberts’ Sasha Wells earned her spot in the 60m hurdles finals Saturday with a No. 1 overall qualifying time of 8.36. Her finishing time breaks her tied meet record time from last year (8.41) as well as the Lutheran Health Fieldhouse record.
South Dakota’s Brithton Senior secured his spot in the finals of the 60m hurdles with the No. 1 qualifying time of 7.79. His prelim time tied the meet and facility record in the event set by his coach Teivaskie Lewin in 2016.
Men’s Championships Won
Pole Vault: Chris Nilsen, South Dakota | 18-1 (5.51m)
Long Jump: Zack Anderson, South Dakota | 23-07.50 (7.20m)
Shot Put: Kristoffer Thomsen, North Dakota State | 66-08.50 (20.33m)
3,000m: Alex Bartholomay, North Dakota State | 8:20.70
Distance Medley Relay: North Dakota State | 10:12.74
Women’s Championships Won
Pentathlon: Holly Gerberding, South Dakota | 3,759 points
Shot Put: Shelby Gunnells, North Dakota State | 55-07.50 (16.95m)
Long Jump: Bo Brasseur, Western Illinois | 19-06.25 (5.95m)
3,000m: Kelby Anderson, North Dakota State | 9:28.54
Distance Medley Relay: North Dakota State | 11:52.46
Competition resumes Saturday inside the Lutheran Health Fieldhouse with the final men’s multi-events starting at 9:30 a.m. ET, field events at 11 a.m. ET and track events at 1 p.m. ET.