March 2019 Athletes of the Month

5/3/2019
 

MENDOTA HEIGHTS – March is a busy month for track & field athletes, fans and coaches, and Minnesotans did not disappoint this March by giving us some great performances to be proud of. Two of Minnesota’s most promising athletes, Payton Otterdahl and Grace Ping, both had outstanding performances in the month of March, earning them each the title of USATF Minnesota’s March Athletes of the Month.
 
Payton Otterdahl, a native of Rosemount, MN and current North Dakota State Bison, won both the shot put and the weight throw at this year’s NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, AL on March 8th and 9th, becoming only the second man in NCAA history to sweep the national titles in the indoor throwing events. To add to his amazing performance, Otterdahl also set a new NCAA collegiate record in the process for the shot put with his toss of 21.81m (71-6.75). That combined with his weight throw toss of 24.11m (79-01.25) to claim his second national title of the meet also earned him the title of National Field Athlete of the Year from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as well. Sweeping the throwing titles is a familiar feat for Otterdahl, as he also swept both the shot put and discus state titles as a senior at the Minnesota Class AA State Track & Field Championships when competing for Rosemount High School in 2014.
 
After earning the chance to represent the United States of America back in February at the USATF Cross Country Championships, Grace Ping donned the Team USA singlet when she placed 60th at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark on March 30th, earning her the title of USATF Minnesota’s March Athlete of the Month for women. A native of Winona, MN, Ping currently competes for Cotter High School but was one of just six United States girls selected to compete for Team USA. Placing 60th overall, Ping was the 2nd finisher for Team USA, helping them earn a 6th place team finish.
 
Honorable Mention Performances – March 2019
  • Christopher Lloyd Xzavion Tucker, current Park Flyers Track Club athlete, won two gold medals at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi from March 12th-20th. Tucker won gold in both the M14 shot put and M17 100m dash with a throw of 15.30m and a run of 11.99 seconds. He was also a part of the 4th place 4x100m relay team for Team USA.
  • Eric Holst, a native of Lanesboro, MN, became the NCAA Division III National Champion in the weight throw for the University of St. Thomas with a toss of 20.91m at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field National Championships.
  • Joe Klecker, a native of Hopkins, MN and current University of Colorado Boulder Buffalo, finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the 5,000m and 3,000m at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, AL on March 8th-9th with times of 7:54.34 and 13:42.79.
  • Two University of St. Thomas jumpers, Grace Bordson (Hutchinson, MN) and Nick Spann (Apple Valley, MN) claimed All-American honors at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships. Bordson finished 3rd in the high jump with a jump of 1.68m and Spann finished 4th in the long jump with a jump of 7.25m.
  • A pair of Carleton College Knights, Matt Wilkinson (Minnetonka, MN) and Lucas Mueller (St. Paul, MN) each earned All-American performances at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston, MA on March 8th-9th. Wilkinson placed 6th in the 5,000m with a time of 14:33.97 and Mueller placed 6th in the 3,000m with a time of 8:17.50.
  • Gabrielle Brown, originally from St. Paul, MN and current Hamline University Piper, claimed All-American honors in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.03, good for 8th place at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships.
  • Kieran McKeag, from Lakeville, MN and current University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, finished 12th in the men’s weight throw at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 20.73m, earning second team All-American honors.
  • Dakotah Lindwurm, competing for Team USA Minnesota, and Joe Coffey, competing for Collegeville Track Club, both won USATF Minnesota titles for 8,000m at the O’Gara’s Irish Run on March 9th with times of 27:45 and 25:07 respectively.
  • Katy Jermann, current Team USA Minnesota athlete, finished 8th overall at the USATF 15k Championships in Jacksonville, FL with a time of 52:20.
  • Jon Dahlin, a St. Louis Park, MN native and Augsburg University alumni, finished 2nd and 4th in the M35 division of the weight throw and hammer throw, respectively, at the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland. Dahlin had tosses of 46.80 in the hammer and 16.27 in the weight throw.
  • Khalid Hussein, originally from Wayzata, MN and current University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, finished 86th at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships while competing for Team USA in Aarhus, Denmark on March 30th with a time of 28:15.
 
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 maxwellkuzara@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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