Tanya Vassar's hard work paid off on Monday.
The Northern State senior won the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women's heptathlon at Swisher Field. Vassar racked up 4,337 points to earn her first conference crown in the heptathlon.
“Last year, there was a lot of tough competition,” Vassar said. “With Heather Miller (of St. Cloud State) and Brianna Perry (of Mary) and those girls, but their time was done. It is my senior year and it is nice to finish on top.”
Vassar definitely earned this one. She is known for spending countless hours in the Barnett Center training on her own and has dropped five percent body fat since Christmas break. She said, “I got really lean and really ready to compete.”
“I'm very happy for her,” Northern State coach Jim Fuller said. “She has worked hard to get to that level. I think that has always been one of her top goals is to be the conference champion in the heptathlon and she did it like you kind of expect a senior to do it. She was very confident. She knew exactly what she had to do pretty much in every event.”
Vassar led after the first day with 2,563 points, but she dropped to second place on Monday after the long jump. Christina Erickson of Minnesota State, Mankato took a 27-point lead after the long jump. The next competition was the javelin throw and Vassar dominated it. Her first throw of 117 feet and one inch was the best among the 14-woman field.
“I was pretty confident knowing that I would score quite a few points,” Vassar said, “and since I was only back by like 30 or something like that going into the javelin, I knew could get ahead of them.”
Vassar's throw racked up 585 points and no other competitor broke the 100 foot barrier.
“And did again, like you expect a senior,” Fuller said, “very first throw, right down the middle, safely where it should be.”
Vassar finished 363 points ahead of second place Megan Olson of Mankato. Other past NSU winners of the women's conference heptathlon include: Lynne Nacke, April Hericks and Katie Anderson.
She credited people ranging from Fuller, assistant coach Brenda Fuller, fellow NSU athlete Jon Evenson, assistant coaches Kyle Blake and Jake Hamik, strength coach Coach Todd Berner and professor Dr. Camille Thomas for helping her win the heptathlon.
“I believe in giving credit where credit is due,” Vassar said. “It is not just me that came out here and did this.”
NSU men's athlete Austin Suther pulled out of the men's decathlon due to a nagging shoulder injury. Tandy Juell of Bemidji State won the decathlon with 6,531 points.
Northern State will compete in the Howard Wood Relays in Sioux Falls on Friday and Saturday.
1, Tanya Vassar, Northern State, 4,337 points: 100-meter hurdles, :15.72, 749 points; high jump, 5-3 , 747 points; shot put, 34-0 , 554 points; 200-meter dash, :29.57, 513 points; long jump, 16-5 , 565 points; javelin throw, 117-1, 585 points; 800-meter run, 2:35.66, 624 points.
2, Megan Olson, Mankato, 3,974 points: 100-meter hurdles, :15.07, 832 points; high jump, 4-10 , 610 points; shot put, 27-11 , 433 points; 200-meter dash, :28.31, 607 points; long jump, 17-4 , 643 points; javelin throw, 79-1, 365 points; 800-meter run, 2:48.02, 484 points.
3, Taylor Sautbine, Bemidji State, 3,951 points: 100-meter hurdles, :15.41, 788 points; high jump, 4-8 , 544 points; shot put, 32-10 , 530 points; 200-meter dash, :27.76, 650 points; long jump, 16-1 , 535 points; javelin throw, 83-5, 391 points; 800-meter run, 2:45.33.
4, Anne Parsley, Augustana, 3,921 points: 100-meter hurdles, :16.13, 698 points; high jump, 4-8 , 544 points; shot put, 31-6, 503 points; 200-meter dash, :27.33, 685 points; long jump, 14-8 , 423 points; javelin throw, 79-1, 366 points; 800-meter run, 2:29.21, 702 points.
5, Christina Erickson, Mankato, 3,874 points: 100-meter hurdles, :16.50, 654 points; high jump, 5-1, 678 points; shot put, 34-0 , 554 points; 200-meter dash, :28.20, 615 points; long jump, 17-6 , 654 points; javelin throw, 69-9, 312 points; 800-meter run, 2:55.65, 407 points.