Wayne State College head track and field coach Marlon Brink announced Thursday the addition of five student-athletes to the 2019 recruiting class. Joining the Wildcat Track and Field program for the 2018-19 academic year are Payton Birkel of O’Neill, Brooklynn Chipps of Elgin, Taylor Gilsdorf of Madison, Brodi Hansen from Phillips and Dylan Kessler of Apache Junction, Arizona.
Payton Birkel is a middle-distance runner from O’Neill Public High School where she was a four-year starter in volleyball, basketball and track and field. Birkel helped the Eagles win the Mid-States Conference girls’ team title as a senior and was a Class B State Qualifier in two events as a junior (800-meter run and 3200-meter relay). She excels in the classroom, earning Academic All-State Honors in three sports as a junior and senior. Birkel was All-Conference in volleyball and honorable mention All-Conference in basketball during her senior season.
“Payton will help to strengthen our long sprints/mid-distance group,” remarked Brink. “She comes from a very successful program at O’Neill Public High School, so she has a good foundation to build on. She is a very successful student and in the RHOP program at WSC, so will be a great asset to the team academically as well.”
Brooklynn Chipps is a thrower from Clearwater High School. During her senior season, Chipps placed fourth in the Class D shot put (37′ 5 ½”) and was 10th in the discus (103′ 1″). Chipps earned Academic All-State and All-Niobrara Valley Conference honors while helping her team win the Niobrara Valley Conference girls’ title as a junior.
“Brooklynn is a very athletic thrower, who we feel has a lot of untapped potential to improve at the collegiate level,” said Brink. “She has had a taste of success in high school and hopefully with the other great group of throwers she will be training with will achieve even more success as a WSC Wildcat.”
Taylor Gilsdorf is a sprinter from Norfolk Catholic High School where she was a four-year letter-winner/starter in track and field. She was a Class C state qualifier in three events during her senior season (200 and 400 meter dashes, 1600-meter relay). Gilsdorf qualified as a junior in the 400-meter dash and helped Norfolk Catholic to a third-place finish in the 1600-meter relay.
“Taylor is a good sprinter who is versatile enough to run events from the 100 meters through the 400 meters effectively,” stated Brink. She will give our young sprints crew additional depth and strength.”
Brodi Hansen is a sprinter/pole vaulter from Giltner High School where he was a multisport standout in football, basketball, track and field and baseball. As a senior, Hansen was the Class D runner-up in the pole vault (14′ 4″), anchored the state champion 400-meter relay team and was a state qualifier in the 100-meter dash. He was third in the pole vault as a junior and anchored the 400-meter relay team that took first place. In football, Hansen was All-District wide receiver and safety and Second Team All-Conference in basketball as a senior while helping Giltner to a fourth place finish at the state tournament.
“Brodi is a very athletic individual who has excelled in all sports,” commented Brink. “He has a great build for a pole vaulter/decathlete. We believe he has a great potential in the multi events to be successful at the college level and can give us strength in an event we have had much recent success with.”
Dylan Kessler is a distance runner who will have two years of eligibility at Wayne State and will compete in both cross country and track and field. At Mesa Community College, he was a two-time national qualifier in cross country and was Third Team All-Conference while earning the Most Improved Runner award.
“Dylan will give our distance/cross country team depth and experience coming from Mesa Community College,” Brink said. “Making it to the NJCAA National Championships, Dylan will specialize in the longer distance races for the Wildcats.”
Wayne State College is an NCAA Division II school located in Wayne, Nebraska and competes in the 16-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.