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Buell 3rd in Pole Vault at Nationals!

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DES MOINES, Iowa –  Facing the nation’s best competition, South Dakota track and field athletes Bethany Buell, Emily Grove and Alexa Duling each rose to the occasion Wednesday at the NCAA National Championships.  Buell set a school record and placed third in the pole vault, while Grove placed seventh in the pole vault as both earned First-Team All-American honors.  Duling earned Second-Team All-American honors in the 400-meter hurdles to give the Coyotes three athletes to attain that feat.


Buell, a sophomore, is the first Coyote to place in the top three at the Division I national meet, while Grove is the first Coyote true freshman to earn First-Team All-American honors.  The three All-American honors are the most the Coyotes have earned at the NCAA Division I National Championships, as are the eight team points that the team scored.


“This is the greatest day in South Dakota track and field history,” South Dakota women’s head coach Lucky Huber said. “This was something no one thought we’d be able to do at the Division I level.”


Buell (St. Louis, Mo.), who was Second-Team All-American in 2011, surpassed that mark and then some in Wednesday’s competition.  She cleared a height of 14-5 1/4 – breaking the school record she set in April – to finish third.  She set a personal-best mark in the process.


“The last practice, I figured out something on my run,” Buell said. “It helped me feel more confident. I was excited to go out and jump again and put it all together. I had a few scares, but after that, I was able to get on a roll.”


For Buell, the goal was to attain First-Team All-American status after earning second-team honors a year ago. 


“It’s very exciting,” Buell said. “That was a goal I had last year, and to be able to go out there and accomplish that this year was a relief.  It was definitely exciting.”


Grove (Pontiac, Ill.) had an impressive debut at her first national championship meet. She cleared a height of 13-11 1/2 – a second-best mark of her career – to take seventh overall.


“I wanted to get in the top eight,” Grove said. “That was one of my goals. I was happy with seventh. I never usually jump 13-11; I usually in the mid 13-8 range, so I was happy with 13-11.
“It’s a relief. I am happy right now. It was really fun.”


Duling (Gregory, S.D.), competing in her first national meet, had a strong run in the hurdles, taking 12th overall with a time of 57.70, just .30 seconds away from the record of 57.40 she set at the NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, Texas on May 25.


“My goal was to go out and run my best, and run hard and hurdle well,” Duling said. “I had a couple of hurdles that were not as clean, but I’m still happy with my race. I am excited for next season; there are a couple of things I want to improve on for next year.”


Duling was the lone female from the state of South Dakota competing at the national meet.


“It’s really special,” Duling said. “It means a lot that I was able to represent my home state at a Division I national meet. And to place pretty well, I’m happy with it.”

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