The Wayne State women will be throwing their weight around at the NCAA Division II track and field championships this weekend.
Five Wildcats have qualified in the hammer, shot and discus, the most ever in throws events.
“If things go well, we potentially have a shot of being a top 10 team nationally,” coach Marlon Brink said.
That would be Wayne’s highest finish ever. The Wildcats already were ranked a program-best 10th earlier this spring.
They’re now 11th heading into the national meet in Pueblo, Colo., that starts Thursday.
Brink said Wayne is building its success on homegrown talent and the addition of throws coach Brett Suckstorf.
Suckstorf competed two years at Wayne before finishing up at Nebraska, where he finished second in the Big 12 in the hammer and weight throw as a senior.
In his three years at Wayne, he’s used what he learned from former NU assistant Mark Colligan to develop his own program. On Monday, he was named the Central Region’s woman’s assistant of the year.
“He’s got them on a very specific lifting program,” Brink said. “They are doing a lot of Olympic-type lifts four days a week.
“They throw a lot. Some coaches go for lower volume. He’s more high volume. Early in the season, they might be getting more than 200 throws in a week. Some coaches do 50 to 60 throws in a week.”
Brink said Suckstorf is especially strong in the hammer, which shows in the national rankings.
Carly Fehringer is ranked second at 206 feet, 11 inches, Lachel Milander is fourth at 200-11, Emily Wells is 11th at 180-10 and Mackenzie Masching is 21st (172-6).
In the discus, Sara Wells is sixth (162-0) and sister Emily 15th (155-10). In the shot, Sara Wells is fifth (49-7) and Fehringer 14th (47-9¼).
All will be competing at nationals.
“They have a great camaraderie,” Brink said. “They’ve really taken off and developed a lot of confidence.”
Few can top Fehringer, a junior from Wayne, in the weight room. She bench presses 240 and squats 415 pounds.
“She’s the strongest girl on the team and probably stronger than a lot of our guys, honestly,” Brink said. “She’s very explosive.”
Her throw of 206-11 in April ranks fifth all-time in Division II history. She also broke the NSIC championship record with a toss of 203-6.
On Monday, she was named the Central Region field athlete of the year.
She was originally recruited as a shot putter since the hammer isn’t contested in high school. But Brink said she’s picked up on the fundamentals and understands what she’s doing on each throw without feedback from the coach.
“Some people have better coordination and footwork and just pick up on it,” Brink said.
Next season, Wayne will continue to build the program. Michaela Dendiger of Hartington, who had the top high school throw in the discus at 151-3, will be joining the Wildcats.
Also in Division II:
>> Chadron State’s Cody Hunt, a four-time All-American, ranks third in the shot (62-1¼).
>> The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Marissa Bongers (800) and Dillon Schrodt (heptathlon) earned All-American honors indoors and have qualified outdoors. Bongers is fourth in the 800 (school-record 2:09.02) and Schrodt 11th in the decathlon (school-record 6,757 points).
>> Minnesota State’s Christopher Reed is the No. 2 seed in the shot. The junior from Omaha Central, who was named the Central Region athlete of the year, won the NSIC title with a season-best toss of 62-3 1/4. He’ll also compete in the discus and hammer.
Doane’s Lindsley ranks first in discus
Doane’s Zack Lindsley, the GPAC outdoor athlete of the year, is ranked No. 1 in the discus (193-2) heading into the NAIA national meet this weekend in Marion, Ind.
He’s also third in the shot (59-2¾) and fourth in the hammer (185-7).
The Tigers’ Rob Keeny is ranked second in the decathlon (6,839) while Mauro Parnell is second in the triple jump (50-6). Jillian Ourada, with 4,784 points, and Erin DeVries, with 4,738, are ranked 1-2 in the heptathlon.
>> Hastings College’s Jennifer Maag has a good chance of winning another title in the shot put. She won the indoor crown with a throw 49 feet, 6 inches.
>> Of the 32 athletes Concordia will send to nationals, junior Jamie Crouse stands the best chance of winning a national title. The three-time All-American ranks third with a toss of 190-5 in the hammer throw. Crouse finished fifth in the hammer last year.
>> Morningside’s men’s and women’s 3,200-meter relay teams will try to repeat their national titles from the indoor season.
Taylor Chapman, Jay Welp, John Harris and Monte Larsen rank second with a time of 7:38.64. McKenzie Reece, Jennifer Petsche, Hailee Heitkamp and Breanna Mathes also are second at 9:03.86.
Larsen, the indoor 800 champion, will go for a double in the 400-meter hurdles and the 800. He is the national leader in both with times of 52.22 and 1:50.05, respectively.
>> Nebraska Wesleyan will send five to the NCAA Division III championships in La Crosse, Wis. Senior Bailey Soucie will compete in the discus and the javelin, the third straight season she has qualified for both.
She’s second in the discus at 156-7, a school record. Her javelin mark of 137-4 ranks 14th.
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