NOTE: Signing Day for track, as well as football, is Wednesday, Feb. 5.
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RAPID CITY — The University of South Dakota women’s track program picked up a commitment from one of the state’s best jumpers, Colette Christensen.
Christensen, a senior at Rapid City Central, owns 12 high school state championships between track and gymnastics. She is also the state record holder in the triple jump, at 40-feet-4.5.
Ultimately, Christensen chose to pursue a collegiate career in track, according to Central track coach Dave Dolan.
“Ever since she was a freshman, it was something she toyed with. Would she try for both sports somewhere?” Dolan told the Press & Dakotan. “She just decided she wanted to compete at the Division I level.”
Christensen will join a USD women’s track program that has found national success in its short time at the D-I level. The Coyotes sent five athletes to last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, resulting in Bethany (Buell) Firsick winning a national pole vault title.
USD women’s head coach Lucky Huber, who cannot comment on recruits, said recently that he believes jumps could be one of the next big events to find national success for the Coyotes.
The program’s performances played into Christensen’s decision, Dolan said.
“The coaches and the success they’ve had there, that had something to do with it,” said Dolan, a USD graduate. “She wants to be part of that.”
At the state high school track meet last year in Sioux Falls, Christensen won the high jump at 5-7 and was third in the triple jump at 36-10.25.
Christensen, who plans to pursue a degree in a science-related field, should benefit from not having to tax her body with two sports, Dolan said.
“One thing I always tell our kids is, ‘Go somewhere where you can have success,’” he said. “And I think she can.”
Having one of the state’s top track standouts choose to remain in South Dakota is a positive thing, Dolan said.
“It seems like our best athletes either go to North Dakota for football or Nebraska or somewhere else,” he said. “It’s nice to see them stay in the state, to put South Dakota on the map.”
Commitments are not binding until athletes sign their National Letter of Intent on national signing day, which for track falls on Wednesday, Feb. 5.