Great West: Women’s Athletes To Watch

For the second time in three months, the University of South Dakota men’s and women’s track & field teams will be looking to beat their Great West Conference track rival Utah Valley for a league title.

Both schools will be among six other teams — Chicago State, Houston Baptist, New Jersey Tech, North Dakota, Seattle U and Texas-Pan American — taking to Yankton’s Williams Field this weekend at the 2010 Great West Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

And as part of the Press & Dakotan‘s continuing coverage of the meet, I thought it’d be a good idea to give spectators a few names to watch for throughout the three days of competition.

In this first installment, we’ll look at 6 women’s athletes who should perform well. As you’ll notice, this list is heavy with USD and Utah Valley names.

USD's Ramsey Fitzsimmons (front) and Emma Erickson (middle)

** Ramsey Fitzsimmons, University of South Dakota

The Yankton native (pictured right) will be closing out her well-decorated collegiate career this weekend in front of her home crowd. Coming into the outdoor meet, the USD senior ranks first in the conference in the 1500-meter run (4:32.21) and first in the 10,000-meter run (35:20.69). Fitzsimmons won individual titles in the 1-mile and 3K during the GWC Indoor Meet, held in February over in Vermillion.

** Mary Nothum, Utah Valley University

The redshirt junior from Missouri is without question one of the conference’s top distance runners, and could have a chance to set some records at Williams Field. Nothum, who redshirted during last year’s outdoor season, is ranked first in three distance events — the 5000-meter run (16:46.28, by 34 seconds), the 10K-run (34:40.21) and the 3000-meter steeplechase (10:55.23).

** Emma Erickson, University of South Dakota

The former Division II national champion from Gayville will also be running in front of what should be a favorable home crowd in Yankton. Erickson (also pictured), who won indoor titles in two events during February’s meet, is ranked first in the 800-meter run (2:07.26) and second in the 1500-meter run (4:33.34).

** Maryn Pincock, Utah Valley University

The Idaho native should have a solid weekend in the throwing events, which will held north of the main track at Williams Field. Pincock, a sophomore who won an indoor title in the discus this year, is ranked first in the shot put (43-8) and discus (148-8) coming into the outdoor championships.

** Cindee Wright, Houston Baptist

As fans will see, Houston Baptist brings to Yankton a very stacked sprinting group, highlighted by Wright, a senior from Louisiana. Wright has the top seeding times in the 100-meter dash (11.59) and 200-meter dash (23.99), and is obviously the favorite to win both events. Teammate Brittane Gaines could push her in the 100.

** Alexa Duling, University of South Dakota

For those people familiar with high school track in South Dakota, this name is nothing new. The sophomore from Gregory is an athlete who has really impressed this season, USD women’s track coach Lucky Huber said this week. Duling, who redshirted last outdoor season, is ranked first in the 400-meter hurdles (1:02.03) and is second in the 400-meter dash (56.44, by just 0.1 seconds).

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