Panthers open outdoor season in South Dakota


toni fortmann

UNI’s Parker Kiewiet earned a first place victory in the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, four inches, which beat out the second place finisher by just two inches.


The UNI Panthers men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their outdoor season this past Saturday, April 3, at the USD Early Bird Meet in Vermillion, S.D. Coming off of a conference championship in the indoor season for the men as well as a third place finish for the women, the Panthers had a strong beginning to their season with 52 UNI athletes finishing within the top-five in their events. Several Panthers managed to finish in the top three, with three athletes getting first place finishes.

In the shot put, graduate student Darius King showed that he is still in top form. After an indoor season in which he qualified for the indoor national championships, King took home first place in his first outdoor shot put competition of the season, throwing 62 feet, 6.5 inches. This was a dominant victory for King, with his throw being nearly seven feet further than the second place finisher. The Panthers managed a sweep of the podium in this event, with Tom Yezek finishing second and Tanner Berg coming in third.

Freshman Parker Kiewiet, fresh off of a Freshman of the Year Award and a second place finish in the long jump at the indoor conference championships, took the victory in the long jump. Kiewiet’s jump of 23 feet, 4 inches was just enough for the victory, beating out the second place finisher by just two inches. In the women’s 5000 meters, junior Jill Vonnahme ran a career best time of 18:11.38 to win the event.

Several Panthers also managed second place finishes. In the men’s 200 meters, Kiewiet and Tayshaun Cooper ran identical times, tying for second place at 21.82. For the women, Taylor Raines ran a time of 24.62 in the 200 meters, and Paige Holub finished in 4:31.94 in the 1500 meters, both good enough to secure a runner-up finish. In the relays, the women’s 4×100 and both the men’s and women’s 4×400 also finished second.

The Panthers will continue their outdoor season when they travel to Columbia, Mo. for the Tom Botts Invitational on Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10, hosted by the University of Missouri.