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Forum staff reports, Published June 11 2011

NDSU’s Carlson finishes 5th at NCAAs in heptathlon

DES MOINES, Iowa – Whitney Carlson ended her North Dakota State track and field career with her most impressive leap.

Carlson jumped 12 spots in the standings on the final day of the heptathlon Friday at Drake Stadium. She finished with a school record 5,556 points to finish fifth in the event at the NCAA Division I Championships.

“I don’t even know if I can put it into words,” said Carlson, who earned first-team All-America honors in the heptathlon. “I never thought in a million years I could finish fifth at nationals.”

Ryann Krais of Kansas State won the heptathlon with 5,961 points.

Carlson was ranked No. 21 in the event heading into the NCAAs. She was in 17th place Thursday after the first four of seven events before her ascent in the standings with a strong final day.

“To me it’s unbelievable. She came in 21st and for her to end up in fifth place,” said NDSU associate head coach Stevie Keller. “It’s huge for her and NDSU, for anybody.”

Carlson started her final-day climb with a leap of 20 feet, 9 inches in long jump to win that event and earn 949 points. She was 20th in the javelin with a toss of 106 feet for another 520 points.

Carlson capped her day with a career performance. She finished the 800 meters in a time of 2 minutes, 14.25 seconds for 903 points. That time was her personal best in the 800 by six seconds.

“I don’t know what was running through my head when I did the 800,” Carlson said. “That last 200 (meters) I just gutted it out. It was awesome. I felt great.”

Carlson said when she first saw her 800 time, she thought it was incorrect.

“To come out and run the 800 like she did was amazing,” Keller said. “She finally got out of her comfort zone a little bit.”

Carlson ended her career a five-time All-American, including two first-team honors.

“I think I have to give all the credit to my coach, Stevie Keller,” Carlson said. “I don’t know what I would have down without him.”

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