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Waldorf’s Buehler claims all-conference honors in triple jump, long jump

By Matt Oliverwaldorf-warriors-outline_1

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The Waldorf College women’s track and field team broke four school records and established another school mark while earning a fifth-place finish in Saturday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Indoor Championships.

With 10 active members on the team roster, the Warriors fielded the smallest squad in the conference. Most teams have approximately 25 to 40 athletes, but that didn’t stop Waldorf from making an impact.

“We definitely had to fight tooth and nail for every point we scored this weekend,” Waldorf coach Kelsey Riggins said. “Track can be a numbers game and the team goal for the NSAA meet was to beat at least one team and each one of them women did their part to achieve that goal.”

The University of Jamestown won the conference title with 179 points. Viterbo University (155) finished as runners-up, Dickinson State University (127) took third, Dakota State University (40) locked up fourth and Waldorf (21) claimed fifth to place ahead of Valley City State University (19).

The 10 athletes competing for the Warriors went all out to defeat Valley City State. Their competitive drive has been on display throughout the indoor season.

“This group of ladies has become so close and have really learned what it means to be a part of this team and what it means to be a Warrior,” Riggins said. “They showed their toughness this last weekend and walked away from the meet knowing they gave everything they had for themselves, the school and the team.”

Abby Buehler claimed third for Waldorf in both the triple jump and long jump to earn all-conference honors in each event.  The junior from Dodge Center, Minnesota recorded a mark of 10.33 meters (33 feet, 10.75 inches) in the triple jump and hit a distance of 4.95 meters (16 feet, 3 inches) in the long jump.

“Abby jumped the best she has all season,” Riggins said. “She came into this meet with great confidence and it definitely paid off for her. Her speed on the runway and her jumps were all very solid.”

Buehler also sprinted to ninth in the 60-meter dash, clocking a time of 8.51 seconds. Her performance was the fastest time recorded by a Waldorf sprinter this season.

Despite tweaking her ankle in the triple jump finals, Buehler came back to help the Warriors set a school record in the 4×400 relay.

“I know that those 400 meters did not feel great on her ankle, but Abby knew what she had to do for the team and she performed,” Riggins said. “I am very proud of how far this young lady has come.”

Freshman Patricia Molina, sophomore Erica Fee, Buehler and senior Megan Perkins rewrote the school record books in the 4×400 relay as they battled to fifth in 4 minutes, 37.90 seconds. Together, they trimmed six seconds off their season-best time.

“They all ran a very tough race,” Riggins said. “Buehler ran with an extremely sore ankle, but their finish solidified the fifth-place team finish. Molina, Fee and Perkins ran three of their fastest splits of the year and Abby wasn’t too far off hers even with the injury. I am very proud of these young ladies.”

Perkins, freshman Adriana Garber, sophomore Karissa Vetsch and Molina teamed up to earn fourth (13:08.44) in the 4×800 relay and established a school record. The event provided the Warriors with an opportunity to score.

“In track and field, sometimes you have to put things together in order to score points as a team,” Riggins said. “I had a feeling a few teams in our conference would not run a 4×800 and some points would be left out on the table for the taking, so we decided to put together a 4×800 relay.”

Perkins typically sprints 200 to 400 meters. Garber and Vetsch compete in jumps and short sprints. Molina is a multi athlete and is the only member of the 4×800 relay who had ran an 800 prior to Saturday.

“I told the ladies going into this that all I needed them to do was finish the race and they would score some points for the team and they did just that,” Riggins said.

In addition to Vetsch’s hard work on the track, the Bloomington, Minnesota, native was also honored with the NSAA Champions of Character Award.

“Karissa is a fantastic young woman and definitely deserves the honor of this award,” Riggins said. “She puts the team and her school first, which is a very honorable quality.”

Fee ran to 10th (1:54.56) in the 600, besting her previous school-record time by nine seconds.

“Every time this young lady steps on the track, she improves,” Riggins said. “She ran a very tough race. The 600 for women in the North Star is pretty stacked, but Erica held her own.”

Sophomore Danielle Holt fought to sixth (10.57) in the 60-meter hurdles after turning in a time of 10.70 seconds in the preliminaries. Holt recorded a lifetime-best in the long jump, placing 11th at 4.54 meters (14 feet, 10.75 inches). She also ran strong races in the 60-meter dash and 200.

Garber leaped to a new school record in the high jump, securing seventh place as she cleared the bar at 1.47 meters (4 feet, 9.75 inches). She tied her lifetime-best in the 60 hurdles, closing out the event in 11.29 seconds following a finish of 11.31 seconds in the prelims.

“Garber was competing with some pain, but still managed to make a big impact for us,” Riggins said. “She is a very reliable and tough young woman. We are looking forward to seeing her continue to improve.”

Molina recorded a lifetime-best performance in the long jump, earning seventh while hitting 4.76 meters (15 feet, 7.5 inches). She also took 12th (8.85) in the 60-meter dash.

“Patricia continues to show us what she is capable of each weekend,” Riggins said. “She keeps improving and after every meet and practice, we see things come together more and more. Patricia is one of those athletes who will compete in whatever event you ask and do it with a smile on her face. She is a great asset to this women’s team.”

Sophomore Peyton Russell turned in a lifetime-best in the weight throw with a toss of 9.80 meters (32 feet, 2 inches). Russell, who has been battling an injury the past few weeks, also competed in the shot put.

“This was her fist time back in the circle and she did a nice job for us,” Riggins said. “Peyton’s primary event is the javelin. We are excited to put the javelin in her hands for the outdoor season and see what she can do.”

Freshman Kelli Wallace also launched her way to a personal-best in the weight throw, recording a distance of 8.43 meters (27 feet, 8 inches).

The Warriors received a seventh-place finish in the shot put from freshman Auburn Miller, who provided a throw of 10.53 meters (34 feet, 6.75 inches). Wallace also competed in the shot put.

Vetsch was Waldorf’s fourth long jumper in the meet and she also ran the 200, along with Perkins. Garber competed in the triple jump.

The NSAA Indoor Championships concluded the indoor campaign for the Warriors. Waldorf open the outdoor season March 24 in the Grand View Invitational, which begins at 2 p.m. at Des Moines.