Three Chadron State College track and field athletes left Tuesday with their coaches for the NCAA Division II National Indoor Track and Field Championships in Pittsburg, Kan., on Friday and Saturday.
They are weight throwers Ashton Hallsted of Casper, Wyo., and Ashlyn Hanson of Seward and long jumper Isaac Grimes of Rancho Verde, Calif.
The two events will take place at the same time.
The men’s long jump is due to start at 4:50 p.m. (CST) Friday and the women’s weight throw will begin at 4:55.
CSC coach Riley Northrup noted that the long jump pit is at one end of the Plaster Center at Pittsburg State and the throwing area is at the opposite end.
Hallstead and Hanson are 15th and 16th on the national qualifying list with throws of 60 feet, 5 ¼ inches and 60-3 ¾, respectively. Both of their best marks came at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships on Friday, Feb. 23 in Golden, Colo. They placed second and third, respectively, in that competition.
Hallsted is a sophomore and Hanson is a senior.
Grimes, who is a freshman, is 17th on the men’s long jump list going to nationals with his mark of 23-11 ¾ that he posted in early December at a meet at Colorado Mines. He also went at least 23-5 ¼ at four more meets this season, but was unable to compete at the RMAC Championships because of a tight hamstring.
Northrup said Grimes has recovered surprisingly well and should be at nearly top speed by Friday.
The national long jump leader is freshman Klehn Bjoern of Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn., with a mark of 25-3 ½. Senior Michane Ricketts of the Academy of Art in California is second, just one-fourth of an inch shorter.
In both 2015 and 2016, Chadron State’s Damarcus Simpson, now a senior at Oregon State, was the long jump runner-up at the National Indoor Championships with leaps of 25-4 ½ and 25-11, respectively. He then won the outdoor long jump championships the following May both years.
A mark of 24-4 ¼ netted eighth place at the 2016 indoor meet, also at Pittsburg State. Northrup said Grimes is definitely capable of a jump in that vicinity.
The weight throw leaders going to nationals are Destiny Coward of Southern Connecticut University at 69-10 ¼ and Michaela Dendinger of Wayne State, CSC’s sister college in northeast Nebraska, at 65-6.
Chadron State’s Mel Herl placed third in the weight throw at last year’s National Indoor Championships with a mark of 69-4, then won the shot put the next day. Coward was fourth in the weight throw at 65-7.
During the hammer throw at the outdoor championships, Herl was the winner at 214-1, the best throw all-time in DII except for those by Heavin Warner of Central Missouri State in 2015 and ’16.
Dendinger was the runner-up and Coward placed third in the hammer, the outdoor equivalent to the weight throw, a year ago.
The two women who placed ahead of Herl in the weight throw at last year’s National Indoor Championships, Tynelle Gumbs of Findlay University of Ohio at 70-3, and Kaitlyn Long of Winona State in Minnesot, at 69-7 ½, were listed as juniors then, but neither is on this year’s list of national qualifiers.
It took a throw of 62-8 to earn eighth place at last year’s showdown.