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Warriors battle, post personal-bests in Dennis Young Classic

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

STORM LAKE – Several personal-record performances highlighted a strong weekend for the Waldorf College women’s track and field team during the Dennis Young Classic.
The Warriors set or established five new school records in the two-day meet, which concluded on Saturday.
“Our women had a very nice weekend,” Waldorf coach Kelsey Riggins said. “A lot of them had lifetime-best performances or tied their PRs in their events.”
Understanding the importance of the efforts put in during practice played a key role for the Warriors while preparing for the meet.
“This week was all about being committed and trusting the work each one of them has put into making themselves the best athletes they can be,” Riggins said. “That shift in attitude came through in their performances this weekend.”
Auburn Miller rewrote the school record books in the shot put, securing sixth place and surpassing her previous mark with a lifetime-best toss of 11.15 meters (36 feet, 7 inches). The freshman from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota came into the competition seeded 12th. With a solid showing in the preliminaries, Miller moved up to the No. 4 seed in the finals.
“Auburn had a great weekend in the shot put,” Riggins said. “We are just tapping into Auburn’s talent in the throwing events. She has a very bright future in the throwing circle.”
Freshman Patricia Molina became the first-ever pentathlete for the Waldorf women’s program on Friday, claiming third with 2,392 points in the five-event competition. Her finish places her at the top of the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) performance list this season. Molina is making strides ahead of the NSAA Indoor Championships & Multi, set for Feb. 14-15 at Jamestown, North Dakota.
“Now that we have a pentathlon under her belt, we can look at what events we need to improve on in the next few weeks before the conference multi meet,” Riggins said.
Competing in the pentathlon, Molina raced to third in the 60-meter hurdles in 11.01 seconds, locked up second in the high jump at 1.38 meters (4 feet, 6.25 inches), sealed second in the shot put with a 7.76-meter (25-foot-5.5-inch) throw, took third in the long jump at 4.52 meters (14 feet, 10 inches) and fought to third (2:44.86) in the 800.
“She competed well throughout the day and finished out with a solid effort in the 800,” Riggins said. “Patricia is on the edge of making some big improvements in several events. It is exciting to watch her compete and make progress.”
Molina returned for three more events on Saturday, competing in the 4×200 relay, 60-meter dash and shot put.
“It was a very busy weekend for Patricia,” Riggins said. “She continued to show her athleticism and potential for us.”
Sophomore Erica Fee established a school record in the 1,000 as the Knoxville native chased down fourth (3:26.08) for the Warriors.
“Erica ran a very aggressive 1,000 for us,” Riggins said. “She went out smart and finished very tough. Erica is the first athlete we have ever had compete in the 1,000 and she did a great job setting the bar.”
Adriana Garber turned in a phenomenal day, setting personal records in all four of her events on Saturday.
Garber secured fourth in the high jump, setting a new school record at 1.45 meters (4 feet, 9 inches). The freshman from Unionville, Missouri improved on her previous school-record mark of 1.40 meters.
Garber worked her way to sixth in the triple jump, hitting 9.49 meters (31 feet, 1.75 inches) while eclipsing her previous best performance of 9.36 meters. She clocked a time of 30.89 seconds in the 200, quickening her pace by 0.82 seconds. Garber also ran the 60-hurdles in 11.29 seconds, trimming 0.12 seconds from her previous top time.
“Running a personal best in one event at a meet is a great accomplishment, but to do it in the 60 hurdles, high jump, triple jump and 200 is very impressive,” Riggins said. “Whether you improve by .01, five seconds or five feet, it is a great feeling as an athlete to know you are working toward your personal goals.”
Waldorf junior Abby Buehler earned fifth in the triple jump, recording a mark of 9.97 meters (32 feet, 8.5 inches). Buehler also competed in the long jump along with sophomore teammate Danielle Holt.
Sophomore Karissa Vetsch also had a great day, tying personal-bests in the 60-meter dash and long jump.
“Karissa works very hard to make herself the best athlete she can be and as a coach, she is the type of athlete you want around your team and in practices every day,” Riggins said.
Freshman Kelli Wallace launched the shot 8.01 meters (26 feet, 3.50 inches).
“Kelli threw the shot very well,” Riggins said. “She is coming off a rotator cuff injury, which has limited her this winter learning footwork in the shot put and learning the weight throw. ”
Wallace has battled back from the injury. Despite not being back at 100 percent, she still came ready to compete.
“Kelli threw eight meters in the shot from a power throw, basically from a standing position which is very promising for her future,” Riggins said. “She is one tough young woman and we are looking forward to having her at full strength in the coming weeks.”
Senior Megan Perkins, Buehler, Holt and Molina combined to become Waldorf’s first-ever 4×200 relay team. The event is not typically held at college competitions.
“We put a team together for some extra speed work for the women and they did a great job,” Riggins said. “They became our first 4×200 relay, which is very cool for them. They will have a piece of program history that no one can take away from them.”
Sophomore Peyton Russell was the fourth thrower in the shot for the Warriors. Perkins ran the 60-meter dash and the 200 while Holt competed in the 400.
Waldorf continues the indoor season, returning to Storm Lake for next Saturday’s Buena Vista University Invitational at 10 a.m. It’s the last tune-up for the Warriors before the NSAA indoor meets.
“We are planning to continue working on some of the technical events this week and get in a few more quality workouts before we begin to taper for the conference meet,” Riggins said.