It was some kind of weekend for North Dakota State athletics. Across a sun splashed Ellig Sports Complex, titles were won and championship banners will be hung. The Bison track teams and softball team continued their dominance of the Summit League in stunning style, led by homegrown talent and young standouts.
Let’s start with track. I was there for each day of the championship and each day left shaking my head. The consistent excellence from the throwing program, to the multi-events to the track was something to behold. Rose Jackson brought home five titles, including a second straight heptathlon, along with titles in the 100 and the 200. The throwers, as Jeff has written about, was the story of the weekend in my opinion. It started on Thursday where NDSU won four separate throwing events. Katelyn Weimerskirch, who is likely the best athlete on campus with the most little attention, won titles in the hammer throw and the discus. The discus she made history in, winning that event for the fourth straight year, no one in the history of the Summit League had won four straight titles in one event. Steffan Stroh, from nine-man school Underwood, Minnesota stole the hammer throw, taking the title on his last throw, beating out his teammate Alex Renner.
The javelin was over before it began. Both Matti Mortimore and Alyssa Olin said they didn’t perform their best and still won titles. Olin hails from tiny Mott, North Dakota and has become a rising standout in the sport. Mortimore is the top five in the world in the javelin, who told me he didn’t perform up to his standards and yet still blew away the field. The shot putt may not grab the headlines, but Friday afternoon’s competition was something to watch. NDSU dominated that event, led by Renner, who won his third straight title, he nearly thew the shot out of the competition area! The atmosphere around these events was electric, the crowd was into it, and more than that, the other Bison athletes were into it as much as anyone.
Don Larson, Stevie Keller and Justin St. Clair have something incredible going on and it bears watching as the regional comes up over Memorial Day weekend. There’s going to be abundance of Bison athletes heading to Eugene for the national championships in June.
As for softball, we have spent some time writing and discussing the impressive accomplishments of what Darren Mueller has done. This weekend was especially impressive, considering what the team has dealt with this season. The loss of standout catcher Alyssa Reina to injury. Four other players out with season ending injuries. No seniors in the starting lineup. First losing season since 2006. Lose the first game of the Summit League Tournament. Somehow, they found their footing late Thursday afternoon and never looked back. Jacquelyn Sertic pitched tremendously, and thanks to some clutch power hitting, the Bison won an eighth Summit League tournament title in nine years. NDSU will have its work cut out for them as they will face Oklahoma, the defending national champions on Friday afternoon, but the fact they are there is a huge accomplishment in its own right.
I understand these sports don’t move the meter as football and men’s basketball do. Admittedly, this blog has turned football heavy, since we have seen a majority of readers enjoy it. We will continue to cover football, but Jeff and I will strive to make sure we spend more time on the other sports when events warrant it.
Lastly, some personal news. This upcoming summer is going to be a huge one of transition for me, one I’m looking forward to with great excitement. I’m going to be taking some time off, but will be trying to post our annual series on previewing the new football season. It’s become something Kolpack and I enjoy. Will it be as frequent as it has been in years past? I’m not sure, but we will strive to continue to be the source for Bison content like we have been since the initial readers and viewers came to our blog. I have always enjoyed our feedback and look forward to that continuing.
Thanks for stopping by and for reading.