Strong start for Wayne State track and field

Throwers lead women, men runners dominate at Scott Nisely Memorial Track and Field Classic

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Caitlin Fehringer, Staff Writer

Senior Sara Wells and sophomore Michaela Dendinger both hit provisional marks for shot put, leading the women’s track and field team Saturday at the Scott Nisely Memorial Track and Field Classic at Doane College.

Along with a provisional mark in the shot put, Dendinger won the weight throw with a toss of 56’11 ¼”. She is currently ranked 14th in the nation with the performance given Saturday at Doane.

“It makes me really excited to hit provisional marks early in the season,” Dendinger said. “It’s also exciting to see how my hard work is paying off, and I’m ready to see how much more I can do this season.”

Wells was second at 56’4”, and freshman Shandan Platt starts her career with a provisional mark and third-place finish with a throw of 55’8 ½” in the weight throw. Jessi Pongratz came in 10th at 49’5”.

While Wells collected first-place in the shot put with a throw of 49’11”, Dendinger came in second at 46’10”. Pongratz, with a mark of 42’2 ¾” placed 9th. Wells is also nationally ranked second in the shot put.

“The biggest thing is seeing Sara develop consistency from week to week, and trusting the training so that the big throws will be there during the championship meets,” throwing coach Brett Suckstorf said.

Senior Megan Svitak earned her team points by making finals in the 60 meter hurdles and finishing with a time of 9.31 seconds, which led her to a 4th place finish.

The 4 x 400 meter relay team of Mary Alderson, Rebecca Davenport, Kelsey Dietrich and Danielle Hart also brought home a 4th place finish with the time of 4:12.02. Alderson also earned 10th place in the 200 meter dash with a time of 27.60 seconds.

Second place finishes by senior Zach Thomsen and redshirt freshman Braxton Adams led the Wayne State men Saturday.

Wayne native, Zach Thomsen, finished the 1,000 meter run with a time of 2:36.29, which landed him second place. Thomsen is hoping to accomplish some big things this year.

“My goals for the rest of the indoor season are to improve every meet, set some more school records, and win a conference title,” Thomsen said. “I have placed second two years in a row in the 600, so it would be nice to take first my last year competing indoors.”

Adams also swiped second place in the 60 meter dash with the time of 6.93 seconds.

Other Wildcats who finished in the top include William Ernst, who was fourth in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.9, Nick Schmit came in fourth in the 1,000 meter run (2:39.63), Bryan Dunn was fifth in the weight throw with a toss of 55’ 1” and Derek Lahm landed himself a 10th place finish in the high jump at 5’ 11 ¼”.

The men’s 4 x 400 meter relay team of Lahm, Cole Heller, Ernst and Thomsen finished sixth in a time of 3:32.75.

“The men’s team looks like it might have a little better all-around balance this year, so that is exciting for them,” coach Marlon Brink said. “We are a pretty young team overall, so each meet will hopefully help them gain valuable meet experience.”

Brink believes the season is off to a good start.

“We had seven marks that tied or bettered personal-best marks on the women’s side and six that tied or bettered personal-best marks on the men’s side,” Brink said. “I felt like that was a decent start to pick up where we left off at after the Christmas break. We still have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to be able to really be ready to compete at a high level at the NSIC Championships at the end of February, which is always our main goal.”

Wayne State will be in action again next weekend at the Minnesota State Open in Mankato, Minn.