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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 02 2013

Records fall for Bison track team in odd season

FARGO – The North Dakota State track and field teams are taxing the school’s sports information department these days. Keeping up with the slew of school records has been almost a daily task.

There has been an assortment of great athletes and performances in the last few decades. But perhaps nothing equaled the six school marks set in an 11-day span that ended earlier this week by the women’s team.

Individually, Deborah John did it in the 100-meter hurdles, Emily Lesser in the hammer throw and Sierra Rosenau in the javelin. Those efforts were joined by three relay teams breaking records.

“Six records in a week and a half? You never hear about something like that,” said NDSU men’s hammer thrower Casey Orgon. “That’s pretty crazy.”

Orgon has been crazy with his record-breaking mentality, too. He’s added 20 feet to the school mark he set last year and has broken his own record so many times that it’s hard to keep count.

It’s all in the repetition and experience, he said. No detail is too small in an event that requires throwing a large, heavy metal ball.

“With the hammer, it takes a long time to learn,” Orgon said. “And once you figure out each one of those small things, it increases your performance quite a bit.”

His latest record is 213 feet, 2 inches set at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. It leads the Summit League by more than 16 feet and is the 18th-best throw in the country this year.

It was textbook. He “marked” in each of his sixth throws counting the preliminaries and finals, and each throw was farther than the previous one.

“When you show up to compete, you have to shut your mind off and just leave it up to muscle memory,” Orgon said.

Adding to the impressiveness of the records is the lack of outdoor practice because of the poor spring weather. The Bison host the NDSU Tune-Up Meet today at the Schlanser Track, and it won’t exactly be personal record-type conditions.

“It’s definitely mental toughness,” said sprinter Antoinette Goodman, who was part of all three record-setting relays. “It’s always a mind game in staying positive. I think it’s crazy how well we can compete seeing that we really haven’t been outdoors much, but the weather has been good at our meets.”

Rosenau broke an 18-year record held by Jennifer Leddon set in the North Central Conference meet in 1995. It may on the surface look to be a surprising effort for the freshman from Carrington, N.D., but not to NDSU throws coach Justin St. Clair.

“He predicted it a year ago when he saw her at a camp,” said NDSU head women’s coach Ryun Godfrey.

Godfrey has been around the sport since he was about 3 years old, and he hasn’t seen many streaks like the latest one. Moreover, middle distance runner Ashley Tingelstad narrowly missed a record in the 400 and freshman Brecca Wahlund came within three seconds of Nancy Dietman’s 1985 record in the 5,000 at the Mt. SAC Relays.

“I think it’s pretty contagious,” Goodman said. “Everyone is fighting to do better.”

Godfrey disputed the notion that his team is peaking early. The Summit Championships are next weekend in Muncie, Ind.

“I look at some of our relays and to be honest, they broke the records by a few tenths, and I thought they would beat it by more,” he said. “I still think there is a lot more to come.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia