BROOKINGS, S.D. – With a home meet looming for the University of North Dakota, head coach Kevin Galbraith and staff wanted to use Saturday’s SDSU Jim Emmerich Invitational to do some experimenting.
Giving some of his top competitors the weekend off allowed Galbraith to get some of his depth athletes vital competitive reps. It also gave others the opportunity to compete in events they otherwise normally wouldn’t participate in.
Galbraith says he liked what he saw.
“It was an odd mix of things,” said Galbraith. “But if you’re doing the same thing all the time, it’s very hard to break through some barriers and get up a level. The people who needed reps got their reps and made significant improvements.”
Arguably the top performance on the day belonged to junior thrower Adam Mehr, who logged the third-best weight throw to date in the Big Sky Conference. Mehr’s mark of 59 feet, 9.75 inches (18.23 meters) was a season high and just missed his personal-record of 60-04 that he set one year earlier at the same meet.
“That’s a good mark and he’s on the way,” Galbraith said of Mehr. “That’s a good performance.”
On the track, Galbraith focused on running athletes in their off events.
Senior Tianna McKinney won the 200-meters, notable because it was the first race she had run this season, with a time of 25.22 seconds that tied her for eighth in the Big Sky.
The 200 was very much a familiar race for McKinney, but she also ran in the 60-meter dash for the first time since high school. She responded with a prelim time of 7.92 seconds, the fifth-best in school history.
Galbraith also went out of his way to praise his runners in the men’s and women’s 600-meter races. On the women’s side, Meghan Janssen placed fourth with a time of 1:38.65 that was the seventh-best in school history.
“Meghan had a nice step up,” said Galbraith. “It was a good, solid mark.”
Right behind Janssen was Madison Jerome, who also cracked UND’s all-time top-10 with a time of 1:38.81.
“She had never run [the 600] before, was in it wire-to-wire and was only a couple-tenths slower than Janssen,” said Galbraith. “For a freshman to come in and do that, especially without really having an indoor event…that was a really strong showing and bodes well a couple of months from now during outdoor season.”
On the men’s side, freshman Cody Roder turned in a similar performance. Normally a 400 runner, Roder turned in a 600 time of 1:20.68 that was the fastest in school history by a freshman. It also ranked No. 2 all-time at UND behind only Jesse Fenstermacher’s 2015 school record of 1:19.16.
“He’s a 400 guy and was basically a second off the school record,” said Galbraith. “That’s just a fantastic performance.”
With Saturday’s hodge-podge entries – and highly-encouraging results – under their collective belts, the Fighting Hawks now turn their attention to next weekend’s UND Indoor Open.
“Next week we’ll let off the training and really go after the home meet,” said Galbraith. “We’re going to try getting both barrels loaded up for the home meet.”
The UND Indoor Open is set for Jan. 26-27 at the UND Athletics High Performance Center on the campus of the University of North Dakota. Click HERE for additional meet information.