EUGENE, Ore. – University of North Dakota junior thrower Molli Detloff etched another milestone in the UND track & field annals this afternoon, earning All-America second team honors in the hammer throw at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field.
Detloff finished 12th with a top throw of 206 feet, 11 inches (63.07 meters) that was the third-best mark of her already-storied career. The only two times she has topped that distance came two weeks ago at the NCAA West Preliminary, where she broke her own school record on all three of her attempts and topped out at 213-2 (64.98m).
With today's performance, Detloff became UND's first track & field All-American since transitioning to the Division I level prior to the 2008-09 season. The top eight finishers earn first-team All-America honors, while the ninth through 16th finishers earn second-team accolades.
It was the latest milestone for Detloff, who earlier this year became UND's first national qualifier in the Division I era, the school's first Big Sky Conference Athlete of the Meet, and it's first athlete – male or female – to eclipse 200 feet in the hammer throw.
“Now that we're officially done [with the season], Molli has proven to be our team leader in terms of performance. She's setting the bar for everyone else,” said UND head coach Kevin Galbraith. “I know she wanted to finish higher, but coming into your first national championship and finishing 12th, that's very good. I'm very pleased.”
For Detloff, it was a matter of checking off another goal after striving to qualify for the national meet since arriving in Grand Forks.
“I feel like I could have thrown further, but I'm not disappointed at all – it's still cool to be an All-American,” said Detloff. “These are really fun athletes to compete against and it's definitely good experience to have. My goal has always been to get here, and now I know what to expect and I can work on a better game plan to take that next step.”
Detloff's throws coach, UND assistant Drew Jones, said the Elk River, Minn., native showed very well in her national championship debut.
“It was the second-best meet of her career. She came in and competed and now she's hungry for more because she wanted to be on the podium,” said Jones. “This is a difficult place to advance and it can be stressful, but she handled it well and I think she's set herself up well for the future.”
Detloff will return to UND next season with two years of outdoor eligibility remaining. Jones said today's championship appearance has accelerated Detloff's development trajectory.
“It's the experience. It's the understanding what it takes to get here and then then to get through it on that day,” said Jones. “A lot of kids from smaller schools don't get there until their last year, but she's ahead of schedule and has that time to build on it.
"To be here this early is a heck of an accomplishment.”