SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Nolan Hovland was oh, so close.
The junior high-jumper from the University of North Dakota found himself in a jump-off today at the 2018 NCAA Division I Track and Field West Preliminary, with the final three of 12 berths at stake to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Hovland, who entered the weekend ranked No. 22 in the West Region, found himself in a 19-way tie for those final three spots with a leap of 6 feet, 11 inches (2.11 meters). The jump-off followed and the final three spots went to Arizona’s Justice Summerset and Nebraska’s Landon Bartel and Grant Anderson.
Officially, Hovland finished his first-ever NCAA regional competition tied for 10th place, a considerable improvement from his pre-meet ranking.
“It was another exciting competition, for sure,” said UND jumps coach Joe Silvers. “I’m very proud of Nolan and how he competed today. To be in contention to advance to the final in his first trip to the regional shows how well he competes and stays calm under pressure.
“The jump-off was intense,” continued Silvers. “After a long day of jumping, I think he was a little tired on his last attempt.”
Hovland’s performance on the regional stage punctuated a brilliant junior year in which he won the Big Sky Conference outdoor title and was the conference runner-up during the indoor season. He also became just the second jumper in UND history to clear seven feet.
“Overall, a very exciting day and a great learning experience and one that will benefit him in the future,” said Silvers.
UND’s other three participants during the final day of competition were in the throws. Junior Jessica Drady, who entered the week ranked 48th in the West Region in the hamer throw, placed 37th with a mark of 180-07 (55.05m).
The Fighting Hawks will join The Summit League in 2018-19.