North Dakota Athletics
Courtesy: UNDsports.com
Senior Katelyn Weber is the top-ranked shot putter in the Big Sky Conference.
PREVIEW: NCAA Track & Field West Preliminary
Courtesy: Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
Release: 05/23/2018

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – University of North Dakota Track and Field Head Coach Kevin Galbraith is sending a school-record nine student-athletes to the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor West Preliminary this week in Sacramento.

These are heady times for a program on the rise, one that recently completed its final Big Sky Conference Championship with 13 all-conference performances, three conference champions, one repeat Big Sky MVP and one school record. Galbraith expects strong performances at the regional meet. He likely even expects one or more of his Fighting Hawks to advance to nationals.

His stated objectives for his team, however, are much different.

Now in his fourth decade as a collegiate coach, Galbraith is fully aware that the NCAA Championships bring a bigger spotlight and heavier expectations. He merely wants his qualifiers to block out the noise.

"My goal as a head coach is just hope that people show up, they're not freaked out by the environment, and they just go out and compete," said Galbraith. "Usually at this stage, if you do what got you there, you'll score well and move ahead because so many others will have mediocre days because they let the pressure get to them. My goal is hope they show up, focus on the task at hand and compete well, and not let the externals seep into their thinking."

North Dakota's entry at the regional meet will be led by junior Molli Detloff, now a three-time regional qualifier and a reigning NCAA Division I second-team All-American. It is also the second straight appearance for junior pole vaulter Kyley Foster and senior shot putter Katelyn Weber. Six others will be making their first appearances, half of whom are freshmen.

Galbraith is proud of the depth reflected by having nine qualifiers and says having multiple freshman in the mix this week is icing on the cake.

"You just don’t have the same expectations [coming into the year] for freshmen. If someone is performing really well as a freshman, that’s a huge gift. I’ve seen really good athletes just struggle their freshman year. That first year is so unpredictable when you’re learning a new system, a new coach, a new environment," said Galbraith.

The 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor West Preliminary gets underway on Thursday at Hornet Stadium.

Below is a look at UND's nine qualifiers:

Matt Culhane
Event: Discus (Friday, May 25 at 2 pm CT)
West Rank: 35th (179 feet, 4 inches | 54.67 meters)
Of Note: Runner-up at the Big Sky Conference Championship
Galbraith Says: "He hit a really great throw [at the Big Sky meet]. When you’re throwing your PR -- or close to it -- at the conference meet, that’s pretty great."

Molli Detloff
Event:
Discus (Friday, May 25 @ 6:30 pm CT)
West Rank: 17th (176 feet, 7 inches | 53.83 meters)
Event: Hammer (Saturday, May 26 @ 2 pm CT)
West Ranking: 5th (219 feet, 6 inches | 66.90 meters)
Of Note: Second-team All-American in 2017 and two-time reigning Big Sky Outdoor MVP
Galbraith Says: "She's having another great year and it's exciting to watch. Her leadership is by example. She does everything well, all the little things. She takes care of her business, comes in and gets it done."

Jessica Drady
Event: Hammer (Saturday, May 26 @ 2 pm CT)
West Rank: 48th (187 feet, 11 inches | 57.28 meters)
Of Note: Placed third at Big Sky Conference Championship
Galbraith Says: "She came in as a girl from Minot, North Dakota, and we didn’t know what she’d be able to do. She was someone we thought had talent, and Drew was able to develop her. She's having just a great year."

Chris Evenson
Event: Discus (Friday, May 25 @ 2 pm CT)
West Rank: 38th (178 feet, 10 inches | 54.52 meters)
Of Note: True freshman placed third at Big Sky Conference Championship
Galbraith Says: "He’s started to take off. To come into the guys events and start to throw well is doubly hard. You’re not only adjusting to the pressure, the change…but on the guys side you add the fact that their implement gets heavier and bigger. So it changes a lot. For him to come in and adjust to the new disc and just get after it is pretty exciting."

Kyley Foster
Event: Pole Vault (Friday, May 25 @ 6:30 pm CT)
West Rank: 16th (13 feet, 9.25 inches | 4.20 meters)
Of Note: Big Sky Conference champion
Galbraith Says: "Pole vault is one of those events where if you have a good day, who knows? There’s a rhythm and a flow and you have to be on. If you are on, it’s going to go well. Everything in her training and competitions says she’s got a shot [to advance to nationals]."

Destinee Haas
Event: Discus (Friday, May 25 @ 6:30 pm CT)
West Rank: 42nd (170 feet, 2 inches | 51.86 meters)
Of Note: True freshman was Big Sky Conference runner-up
Galbraith Says: "Getting second and qualifying as a true freshman, that’s phenomenal. That’s fantastic. The start [to her career] is great."

Nolan Hovland
Event: High Jump (Saturday, May 26 @ 6 pm CT)
West Rank: 22nd (7 feet, 0.25 inches | 2.14 meters)
Of Note: Big Sky Conference champion
Galbraith Says: "He had great marks as a freshman and won indoor conference. Last year was a little bit up and down, but this year he’s pulled it back together. Jumps are very emotional. If you’re feeling good and you’re on, you just never know."

Michael Quesenberry
Event:
Shot Put (Saturday, May 26 @ 6:30 pm CT)
West Rank: 42nd (58 feet, 6 inches | 17.83 meters)
Of Note: Placed third at Big Sky Conference Championship for second year in a row
Galbraith Says: "Mike has worked hard. He’s been searching and tracking that school record for us for the last two years. We thought he could get it and Coach Jones did, too. You’ve got to be a big, strong guy and he fits that bill. He’s worked through some injuries and setbacks and found his timing. This last month he’s really started to come on."

Katelyn Weber
Event: Shot Put (Thursday, May 24 @ 6:30 pm CT)
West Rank: 42nd (50 feet, 4 inches | 15.34 meters)
Of Note: Owns top mark in Big Sky Conference
Galbraith Says: "You can only really compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Are you a little better today than you were yesterday? If yes, then you’re going the right way. If not, why not? She just intuitively seems to know that and focuses on what she’s doing and gets her business done."



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