WAYNE – The 2019 recruiting class for Wayne State College Track & Field saw a boost of Nebraska athletes as head coach Marlon Brink announced Thursday five student-athletes will join the program.
Those who signed their national letter of intent to attend WSC during the 2018-2019 academic school year were Payton Birkel of O’Neill, Brooklynn Chipps of Elgin, Taylor Gilsdorf of Madison, Brodi Hansen from Phillips and a transfer 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the indoor and outdoor track & field season slated to start in December and March, the Wildcat distance runners are gearing up for the cross country season. WSC will open with the Augustana Twilight Invite in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Friday, August 31 at 8:30 p.m. for the women and 9 p.m. for the men.