South Dakota senior pole vaulter Bethany (Buell) Firsick has been named College Womenâ€™s Athlete of the Year by the South Dakota Sportswriters Association. It is the second time in the last three years she has won the award.Â
The honor caps a seemingly perfect 2013 for the fifth-year student-athlete from St. Louis. Firsick became the state of South Dakotaâ€™s first Division I national champion in June when she won the pole vault competition on the final jump of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. Firsickâ€™s winning vault was 14 feet, 7 Â¼ inches which she reached while competing with a torn ligament in her left shoulder.
In early July, Firsick, along with teammate Alexa Duling, were named first-team CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. In late July, Firsick was named Division I Outdoor Field Scholar Athlete of the Year by the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Before earning those achievements, Buell won her fifth conference championship in the event. She won the Summit Leagueâ€™s indoor pole vault title held inside the DakotaDome in February, and went on to place sixth at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. It was the third of four All-America performances Firsick has turned in as a Coyote.
On July 6, Bethany married Zach Firsick in a ceremony held in Clayton, Mo. Both attended Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, Mo. Zach graduated with honors from USD in May with a degree in economics. Bethany is set to begin her final year of competition for the Coyotes in January.