DES MOINES, Iowa—South Dakota alumna Emily Grove pole vaulted a personal best 15 feet, 3 inches, to wrap up the U.S. Championships inside the blue oval on Sunday evening.
Grove '15, '17 placed fourth in the talented American field, with Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris taking home the U.S. title in 15-11. Grove, who represented the United States at the 2017 IAAF World Championships, still has a chance to be named to Team USA later this season. The top-three finishers today were automatic qualifiers, but if one of those U.S. athletes win the Diamond League a fourth qualifier from the United States would advance to the world stage.
"This weekend was an exciting one for the Coyotes," said USD director of track and field Lucky Huber. "To have five athletes qualify for the U.S. Championships is a big deal. This meet saw a lot of world-leading marks and some American records were set this weekend. Our team did a great job of representing the University on such a big stage.
"It was great to have a number of people in Des Moines supporting USD, cheering on the Coyotes and wearing red."
Junior Chris Nilsen represented the University of South Dakota at the meet for the third-straight season. He finished in a tie for seventh with a height of 17-11. Nilsen owns a personal best of 19-6 ¼, which he vaulted at the 2019 NCAA Championships en route to grabbing his third NCAA title.
The Coyote high jump duo of junior Zack Anderson and freshman Jack Durst tied for 12th place. Both cleared 6-11 with a first-attempt make. The pair helped take the South Dakota high jump program to new heights in 2019. In addition to both Anderson and Durst qualifying for the U.S. Championships, they led a squad that ranked first in the NCAA this outdoor season. Anderson, a two-time All-American, cleared a personal best 7-4 ¼ at the Summit League Championships in Macomb this spring. Durst owns a personal best of 7-2 ½ from the indoor season where he leaped the height at the Dakota Realty Alumni Meet.
Senior Lara Boman wrapped up her Coyote career at the U.S. Championships. Boman took 15th place in the hammer throw with a distance of 200-3.
While her American counterparts competed in Des Moines at the U.S. Championships, junior Helen Falda vaulted back home in her native Italy. A native of Torino, Italy, she took to the runway at the Italian Championships in Brixen. Falda finished fifth in the pole vault with a height of 13-1 ½.