SIOUX FALLS – South Dakota sophomore Chris Nilsen vaulted higher than any other American this season when he cleared 19 feet, 2 ¾ inches, at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday afternoon inside Howard Wood Stadium. Nilsen brought the Coyotes’ total victories at the meet to 19 with five on Saturday.
Nilsen’s 19-2 ¾ vault demolished the Howard Wood record, improved his own career best and surpassed his own coach, Olympic bronze medalist Derek Miles, by a centimeter. The sophomore is beyond leading the NCAA, but boasts the top American mark this season. Nilsen ranks fourth in the world behind world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie of France, Shawn Barber of Canada, and Mondo Duplantis of Sweden.
Senior Shanice Cannigan snatched up a pair of Howard Wood titles in the hurdles. She broke an eight-year-old meet record in the 100-meter hurdles with a clocking of 13.77 seconds. Cannigan took home gold in the event for the third-straight year. She also edged off the competition in the 400-meter hurdles to win with a time of 1:01.07.
Racing into a headwind, senior Jay Cooper captured the 110-meter hurdles with a clocking of 14.81 seconds.
Freshman Conor Penington also faced a headwind, but clocked 10.95 seconds for 100 meters to win his first individual Howard Wood Dakota Relays title as a collegian.
Sophomore Ethan Toy claimed the long jump with a leap of 22-6 ¼.
Sophomore Samara Spencer was a three-time winner for the Coyotes on Friday, capturing titles in the triple jump (39-4.50, high jump (5-5) and 4x100 relay. The relay also included Karina Dufoe, Brooke Ireland and Tasheka Gordon and clocked 46.52.
Past Olympian A.G. Kruger, now the USD throwing coach, set a meet record in the men’s hammer throw of 239-0.
Madeline Huglen capped off the productive night for USD athletes, setting a Howard Wood mark of 10 minutes, 31.57 seconds in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Huglen and Jonna Bart, who finished second in 10:34.57, both ran unde the previous record time.
Megan Billington won the women’s 5,000 in 16:57.55, while Helen Falda was victorious in the pole vault, clearing 13-9.50. Zack Anderson soared 7-1 to cop the men’s high jump and Ben Hammer had a winning spin of 186-8 in the discus.
Lara Boman launched the hammer throw nearly 22 feet further than any other competitor, winning with a throw of 198-1. Armand Khan got his personal best in the javelin by three feet, throwing 195-6 while Danielle Waldner, another USD throwing coach, won the women’s shot put with a toss of 49-1.75.
The men’s 4x100 relay of Conor Pennington, Joe Reagan, Jack Thony and Gawain Williams claimed gold with a 41.19. Brooke Ireland won the women’s 400 with a time of 56.23.