Wildcats take 10th, 6th in NSIC; advance to nationals


Brianna Crouch

Megan Hansen in the hurdles at a recent WSC home meet.

Brianna Crouch, Staff Writer

The Wayne State track and field women’s and men’s team traveled to Mankato, Minnesota at Myers Field House for the NSIC Championships Feb. 25-27. The women’s team finished tenth with 22 points and the men’s team placed sixth with 35 points.
On the women’s side, the Cat’s snagged six medals. Junior Mckenzie Scheil threw a new school record mark of 67’ 9 ¾” and a top throw in the NCAA DII Saturday afternoon to reclaim the championship win the weight throw. The previous school record was 67’ 0” by Michaela Dendinger on March 9, 2018, a mark she placed second with at that year’s NCAA DII Indoor Championships.
The throw by Scheil also moved her to the top spot in NCAA DII by just over two feet. Scheil also scored additional points with a fifth-place finish in the shot put at 45’ 1 ½”.
“Placing at conference was very exciting, after a rough year of COVID, it was a relief to even get to the conference meet. A couple months ago, no one was sure about what the season was going to be like,” said Scheil. Additionally, Scheil compared breaking the school record to be the cherry on top to her performance at the conference meet.
As for preparing for nationals, Scheil said, “Last year I went into nationals sitting fifth so this year being ranked first and auto qualifying gives me a little bit of relief so I can go and perform at my very best in Alabama. This week is all about perfecting our throws and getting ready to bring home some titles and hardware.”
Additionally, Scheil wants to thank everyone who has wished the track team good luck and congratulations after the fact. “We can definitely feel the love from everyone.”
Other top finishers came from senior Kenzie Sullivan, Jadin Wagner, and Megan Hansen. Sullivan placed sixth in the shot put (44’ 6”) and eighth in the weight throw (54’ 9 ¼”), Wagner placed sixth in the weight throw at 57’ 9 ½”, and Hansen earned an eighth place finish in the 60-meter hurdle finals (9.08 seconds).
On the men’s side, junior Noah Lilly, placed in two events to lead the Wildcats with one All-NSIC finish. Lilly placed third in the heptathlon with 4,621 points and added a sixth-place finish in the pole vault (14’ ¼”).
Senior thrower Cade Kalkowski also earned All-NSIC honors for a third time in his career in weight throw collecting a second-place finish (66’ 2 ½”). Senior shot putter Ben Allen recorded a third-place finish with a mark of 52’ 3 ¾”.
Kalkowski says he felt well about how he placed at the conference meet. “My technique was clicking just right, but overall I was happy with the all-conference.”
Kalkowski is feeling confident in his preparation for nationals. “I think I’m getting some technical things figured out that will really help me in the long run.”
Other top scorers came from Dylan Kneifl in the high jump clearing 6’6 ¾” in the high jump, while Cole Christoffersen posted a fourth-place finish in the weight throw with a 63’ 9 ¾” mark, an NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Brock Hegarty took eighth in the 1,000-meter run (2:34.97) and Mikhail Sands taking eighth in the long jump (21’ 11 ¾”).
“It felt great to place at the conference meet for the first time in my career,” Christoffersen said, “and overall I was very pleased with the performance I had this weekend. There is still room for a lot of improvements, and I am feeling good about the preparation for nationals.”
Christoffersen is competing in his last indoor season at WSC. “It should be a fun experience if I get in and get to compete one last time this indoor season,” he said.
Hegarty, another contributor to the men’s team score, said, “It really meant a lot to be able to contribute to the team score. One of my main goals has always been to place at conference and get the team whatever points I can. I was proud of where the team finished overall with the group of guys we brought and under all of the circumstances.”
Additionally, Hegarty explained his 1,000-meter run to be a physical battle for positioning in the first 400-meters of the race. “Due to a couple trip ups with the competition, I likely lost a couple places/seconds off my time,” he said, “but I wasn’t discouraged as I still have improved a lot from previous years.”
WSC women’s and men’s national qualifiers will travel to Birmingham, Alabama at the University of Montevallo March 11-13.
National qualifiers are throwers Mckenzie Scheil, Cole Christofferson and Cade Kalkowski.