Pack's school-record holder in triple jump becomes first All-American since 1993.
TURLOCK, Calif. (GoThunderWolves.com - May 27, 2011) - Thanks to a strong performance at the NCAA Division II National Championships in the triple jump event by Danita Wyatt (Jr., Aurora, Colo.), the CSU-Pueblo track and field program has its first All-American in nearly 20 years.
Wyatt jumped 40 feet, 2-3/4 inches - her second-best collegiate jump - finishing fifth overall. All finishers in the top eight of each event earn All-American honors.
She entered the National Championships ranked sixth nationally in the triple jump with a seed jump of 12.40m, or 40 feet, 8-1/4 inches, a CSU-Pueblo school record. The goal was to get as close as that seed jump as possible, which allowed her to win the 2011 RMAC Championship.
"I knew that if she jumped what she did to get here, then we'd have a chance," Pack coach Chad Perry said. "She showed she was going to have a good day when she had the longest jump in the preliminaries and she continued to perform well."
In her first two jumps of the finals, Wyatt jumped from behind the board, not getting optimal distance. But she was able to find her stride in the second round, getting to the 40-foot, 2-3/4-inch mark that would eventually deliver the All-American honor.
"It took a lot of hard work, but it feels amazing [to be an All-American] and I'm blessed to be here," Wyatt said. "The biggest hurdle to get over to get to this point was myself. You're always you're biggest hurdle and I feel like all the hard work has paid off."
Wyatt becomes the first CSU-Pueblo track and field All-American since 1993, when Dayna McDowell placed in the 800-meter run and Wyatt was three years old. She becomes the fifth track and field All-American in school history.
"She's done an awesome job all year," Perry said. "She's broken school records, done extremely well in new events, and kept steadily improving. She was able to improve her body and stay healthy and has done everything that was asked of her. I'm extremely proud of her."
With Wyatt's finish, CSU-Pueblo will finish the 2011 NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships with four team points, enough to allow the Pack to be in the top 30 in the team scores after two days of competition. Though the ThunderWolves have no entrants in the third and final day of the championships, the event will conclude Saturday.