NDSU T&F Looking to Otterdahl for Leadership ahead of NCAA Championships

Payton Otterdahl won two indoor titles earlier this year

Less than a week out from the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas, North Dakota State has seven student-athletes competing, three of them in multiple events.

All but one of those is a throwing event, prompting throws coach Justin St. Clair to be named the Midwest Region’s Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

This is the sixth regional honor of St. Clair’s career.

He was also the men’s assistant of the year during the indoor season after coaching Payton Otterdahl to two national titles.

Otterdahl will compete for two outdoor titles next week after qualifying for nationals in both the shot put and discus.

He says he feels a lot more comfortable, having competed at this level before, and Otterdahl’s comfort is also rubbing off on his teammates.

“I kind of try to lead through example,” he said. “I think if they can see me calm, collected and confident, then they can too. I was once in their shoes, my first time. They’re all a little bit younger than I was when I was there, so I have no doubt that in a few years, they’ll be kind of in the same place as me.”

Sophomore Alex Talley is competing in two events, including the shot put with Otterdahl.

“He’s a great leader when it comes to that kind of stuff,” Talley said of the senior. “He knows what to do. He knows how to show up, how to warm up, how to not be intimidated by the people, so he’s very true when he says he leads by example.”

The NCAA Championships begin on Wednesday.

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