Sophomore discus thrower Kacie O’Connor found the right time of year to punch her ticket for the NCAA Div. II Championships, uncorking an NCAA provisional qualifying throw to win an individual title and highlight Wayne State’s effort at the Northern Sun Conference Championships Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D.
O’Connor unleashed her personal-best mark of 158 feet, 7 inches to win the women’s discus competition and put her in good shape for the NCAA Div. II Championships later this month in Bradenton, Fla. Her mark is ranked ninth in NCAA Div. II, and marks the third time in the last four years that a Wildcat has won the event, joining Sara Wells’ wins in 2013 and 2014.
O’Connor’s win highlighted the Wildcats’ 13th place finish in the conference meet, as they scored 12 points. Kyndra Sturm recorded a seventh-place finish in the hammer throw on Friday, finishing with a season-best mark of 168-6. Melissa Kroll just missed the finals in the 400-meter dash, finishing ninth with a time of 1:00.43, missing the finals by two-tenths of a second.
In other highlights for the Wayne State women, Ellen Wulf was 12th in the long jump with a mark of 17-8, and the 1,600-meter team of Kroll, Wulf, Kelsey Dietrich and Rachel Rauner was 13th in 4:13.50.
In men’s action, Bryan Dunn and Clay Kramper both earned all-NSIC honors to help the men finish seventh with 52 points. Dunn finished second in the men’s hammer throw with a mark of 182-1, while Kramper collected a runner-up finish in the 200-meter dash on Saturday with a time of 21.57 seconds. They were joined by Josh Spenner, who won the NSIC men’s decathlon earlier with 6,496 points.
The 400-meter relay team of Kramper, Brandon Marker, Braxton Adams and Jordan Zautke finished third in 42.03 seconds. Adams was fourth in the 100-meter dash (10.66), Spenner set a school record in the pole vault with a fourth-place effort of 15-6 1/2 (the old record was 15-6 by Matt Doggett in 2007), Brady Metz was sixth in the triple jump (46-2), Robert Sullivan was sixth in the decathlon (5,993 points) and was eighth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.68) and Justin Bruggeman was eighth in the 10,000-meter run at 31:43.23. Nicholas Fly just missed the finals in the 1,500-meter run, finishing ninth in 4:06.18.
Minnesota State captured both team titles, with the men repeating as conference champions.
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