January 2018 Athletes of the Month

2/15/2018
 

MENDOTA HEIGHTS - The start of 2018 brings with it the start of the indoor track & field season, and also gives us a chance to recognize some of the best field athletes around the state and country - including Kaitlyn Long from the University of Minnesota and Eric Holst from the University of St. Thomas, two of Minnesota’s best weight throwers.

Kaitlyn Long, originally from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, is a senior competing for the Golden Gophers and has her 2018 season off to a great start. At the 2018 Border Battle meet on January 13th, Long tossed the, at the time, 2nd best weight throw in the NCAA (currently 4th best) at 22.74m (74' 7.25") to crush the Gophers’ previous weight throw school record of 21.05m (69' 0.75") held by Liz Alabi from 2007. This performance earned Long her first B1G Indoor Field Athlete of the Week award, as well as USATF Minnesota’s January Athlete of the Month award.

Long joined the Gophers this season after three years at Winona State University where she was a two-time NCAA Division II indoor national champion in the weight throw.
 
Eric Holst, a junior at the University of St. Thomas, originally from Lanesboro, Minnesota, has been on fire this indoor season racking up two MIAC Athlete of the Week honors in a row in the month of January. First, Holst threw a career best 59' 5" weight throw on January 12th at the UST Opener. At the time, that ranked him #5 in Division III and #3 all-time at St. Thomas. Then, the following week at the UST Invite on January 19th, Holst moved up to #2 in Division III with a 61' 4.75" toss, nearly two feet farther than his throw the weekend before, earning him USATF Minnesota’s January Athlete of the Month honors. That throw is the 2nd best in St. Thomas school history, and just 18 inches off his now-coach Pat Ahern’s 1993 school record.
 
Holst has come a long way at St. Thomas from his freshman year best of 42' 5", which was the 9th best weight throw on the St. Thomas team at the time, to now be ranked in the top 5 consistently in all of Division III. He found his stride last spring starting with his breakout performance at the MIAC Outdoor meet in the hammer throw where he threw 177' 11", earning him 2nd place in the conference and top-35 in NCAA Division III.
 
Congratulations to Kaitlyn and Eric, and good luck the rest of the season! 
 
Honorable Mention Worthy Performances in January
 
Men:
  • Tyler Jermann, and Iowa State alumni and current Team USA Minnesota athlete, placed 7th at the Houston Marathon in a PR of 2:16:39, qualifying him for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Team Trials.
  • Kevin Lewis, an Iowa native and also a Team USA Minnesota athlete, placed 38th at the Houston Half Marathon in a time of 1:05:02.
  • Jonathan Webb, current University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, swept the sprint event with a win in the 60m dash and the 200m dash at the Border Battle on January 13th in times of 6.80 and 21.86, respectively.
  • Ryan Lockard, another current University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, won the high jump in a meet record 2.17 meters (7-01.5 ft.) at the Border Battle meet. 
Women:
  • Kelly Boeler, a native of Hutchinson, Minnesota and current Twin Cities Track Club athlete, placed 13th at the Houston Marathon in a PR of 2:43:50, qualifying her for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Team Trials.
  • Ayesha Champagnie, a current University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, had a career best long jump of 6.56m (21-06.25 ft.) at the 2018 Border Battle.
  • Karlie Place, another current University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, won the pole vault at the Jack Johnson Classic in 4.28m (14-00.50 ft.), which was at the time the best mark in the Big Ten and the 3rd best pole vault of all-time at the U of M. 
We welcome your nominations!
To nominate an athlete for USATF Minnesota’s Athlete of the Month award, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to maxwell.kuzara@gmail.com with the subject line “Athlete of the Month Nomination”.

Fans can follow along with USATF Minnesota on FacebookTwitter, and online at www.minnesota.usatf.org.
 
Maxwell Kuzara
Athlete of the Month Committee Chair
USA Track & Field Minnesota
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