WSC tracksters smashing records

Derek Lahm sets new Decathlon record while Sara Wells competes and defeats Division I talent


Photo courtesy Marlon Brink

Braxton Adams takes the handoff from Kole Heller in the 4 x 400 relay, finishing second in the event.

Caitlin Fehringer, Staff Writer

Sophomores Derek Lahm and Josh Spenner, both Columbus Scotus High School graduates, earned the spotlight this weekend for the Wildcats after their performances at the NSIC Men’s Decathlon held Sunday and Monday at Swisher Field in Aberdeen, S.D.

Lahm took second while scoring 6,638 points to top the previous school record of 6,057 points, set by Cody Diehl in 2010. Lahm’s point total was also an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

“To come out of the decathlon with a school record and All-Conference recognition my first time ever doing it is still kind of a shock to me,” Lahm said.

Without Coach Kamm and teammate Spenner, Lahm doesn’t think it would’ve happened.
“Josh helped increase my pole vault by over two feet in two months, and having him as a training partner has helped a ton. Heck, people don’t realize it, but Josh actually also broke the record by 300 points, which is an enormous amount, so I think the next two years are going to be very exciting,” Lahm said.

Spenner, a transfer from Iowa Central Community College, was right behind Lahm placing fourth in the two-day, 10-event competition by scoring 6,356 points, which was also an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

“In high school, Derek and I only competed in one event together, but in that one event, Derek was able to explain and teach me the techniques for the race which immediately benefited me,” Spenner said. “Now, I’m able to utilize Derek for essentially every event. Also, I was a pole vaulter in high school, which is something Derek wasn’t familiar with. Now, in college, I’m able to help him in that event.”

Spenner and Lahm’s relationship has made them both better athletes and competitors.
Spenner was pleased with how things went, but not satisfied. He had a couple of personal best, but also fell short of some marks that he was trying to reach.
It was both Spenner and Lahm’s first outdoor decathlon, and they were both proud of the accomplishments they made, but there are areas they both agree they need to improve on.

Sara Wells competed against some of the best athletes in both Division I and II last Friday, at the Drake Relays in Des Moines.

Wells collected fifth in the shot put and sixth in the discus in rainy conditions.
Wells was the highest finisher among all Division II throwers in the shot put, with a top mark of 51’ ¼” as well as in the discus (161’ 7”).

Sophomore Michaela Dendinger was the only other female track athlete to qualify for the Drake Relays. She ended 25th in the shot put (45’ 9”) and 27th in the discus (122’ 8”).

The remainder of the Wildcat women’s team ran in the Grand View Invitational held at Des Moines East High School on Saturday.

Freshman Kelsey Dietrich led the way for the ‘Cats, earning a second place finish in the 100 meter hurdles in 15.98 seconds.

Sophomore Kinsey Clark assisted Dietrich while collecting third in the 400 meter dash (1:01.17) and fifth in the 800 meter run at 2:24.31, while senior Rebecca Davenport came in fifth place in the 400 meter hurdles in 1:08.91, and Elizabeth Pille fifth at 16.28 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles.

The 4 x 400 meter relay team of Pille, Mary Alderson, Dietrich and Davenport brought home first place honors in 4:06.26, while the 4 x 100 relay team of Danielle Hart, Alderson, Dietrich and Siera Zach took third in 50.07 seconds.

Earlier last week, WSC throwers achieved three NCAA provisional marks at the Mount Marty Twilight Meet held at the Yankton High School track Wednesday night.

The Wildcat women had one first-place finish as sophomore sprinter Alderson took first place in the 200 meter dash with a time of 26.34 seconds.

Solid performances from the WSC throwers led to three NCAA provisional marks.
Dendinger collected two second-place finishes with two NCAA provisional marks in the process.

In the hammer, she launched a 174’ 8” throw and was second. In the shot put her throw of 47’ 3 ¾” is another NCAA provisional mark that now ranks 10th in NCAA Division II. Dendinger ended the day with a third place finish in the discus at 150’ 7”.

Freshman Kacie O’Connor also recorded an NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the discus, taking second at 152’ 7”. Shandan Platt was third in both the hammer throw (171’ 6”) and the shot put (45’ 7 ¼”) and ninth in the discus (120’ 0”).

The Wildcat women’s 4 x 100 meter relay team of Hart, Alderson, Dietrich and Ellen Wulf was third in 50.18 seconds.

To end the action for the women, Senior Megan Svitak and junior Wulf competed Sunday and Monday at the NSIC Women’s Heptathlon held in Aberdeen, S.D. at Swisher Field.

Svitak came in sixth place with Wulf placing eighth for the Wayne State women’s team.

Svitak recorded an NCAA provisional mark with 4,610 points in the two-day, seven-event competition. She was fourth in the 100 hurdles and took fifth in the shot put. Overall, she collected a sixth-place finish in the heptathlon.

“This weekend was such a blast. I have such an amazing group of teammate and coaches to push me to do my best,” Svitak said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend, five personal best in two days and such beautiful weather. Getting sixth place made my senior year.”

On the final day of competition, Wulf captured an eighth-place finish. Her best finish came Monday, taking fourth in the long jump.

Seniors Jared Balady and Zach Thomsen carried the Wayne State men’s track and field team Wednesday evening at the Mount Marty Twilight Meet.

Thomsen, a senior Wayne native, won the 800 meter run in 1:53.16, which is a personal best by almost a whole second.

“It felt really good to hit my personal best. I finally got some good weather to run so that helped a lot,” Thomsen said. “My goal for conference is to get first. I am also going for the school record in the 800, which is 1:52.13.”

Balady finished first in the 400 meter hurdles crossing the line in 55.40 seconds.

William Ernst took second place in the 200 meter dash (22.41) while Braxton Adams finished third in the 100 meter dash at 10.79 seconds, and third in the 200 meter dash at 22.43 seconds. Junior thrower Bryan Dunn picked up a fourth-place finish in the hammer throw (170’ 10”).

The WSC 4 x 100 meter relay team of Kole Heller, Adams, Ernst and Lahm came in second place with a time of 42.66 seconds.

Balady carried his winning performance from Wednesday’s meet to Friday’s at the Grand View Classic in Des Moines, winning the 400 meter hurdles in 55.21 seconds.

“With conference coming up, winning these two meets this week really give me confidence for the following,” Balady said. “My goal for conference is to win the 400 meter hurdles. I came in second last year and winning would be a good way to end my track career.”

Brady Metz also captured a first place finish in the triple jump at 44’ 2”.

“Indoor conference didn’t go the way I wanted to in triple jump,” Metz said. “I would like to place in triple jump and score some points for the team, basically give my best effort and trust my training.”

The next full meet for Wayne State College will be this weekend (Friday and Saturday) at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls.