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CSC taps Northrup to lead track and field program

CSC taps Northrup to lead track and field program
Riley Northrup new track coach at Chadron State. (photo courtesy of CSC)

Chadron State College athletic director Joel R. Smith announced on Wednesday the addition of Riley Northrup to his 2017-18 staff, naming the former Eagle All-American the new Head Track and Field Coach at CSC.

“We are excited that Riley will be joining us to continue the winning tradition of CSC Track and Field,” said Smith. “He comes from an excellent program at Ashland and has an intimate knowledge of Chadron State both as an athlete and a coach.”

Northrup returns to Chadron following a successful stint as an assistant track and field coach at fellow national power Ashland University, where he has coached since 2014, under a different “Eagles” banner.

While at Ashland, Northrup helped both the men’s and women’s programs to their first-ever No. 1 indoor national rankings by the USTFCCCA coaches’ association, recruiting and developing jumpers and multi-event athletes, and assisting with strength and conditioning programs.

Through aggressive recruiting, Northrup doubled the roster numbers for his events, growing the jumpers unit from 11 student-athletes in 2014-15, to 23 in 2016-17.

He mentored Ashland high jumpers to four All-America finishes. A total of six school records fell, in the jumps and multis, under Northrup’s watch. His resume includes recruiting and tutoring two-time NCAA champion sprinter Myles Pringle to a pair of All-GLIAC finishes in the high jump, and a Second Team All-America laurel at the 2017 NCAA outdoor meet.

“First of all I want to say thank you to President Rhine, AD Joel Smith,” said Northrup, “and everyone else involved in the hiring process at CSC for entrusting me with this amazing opportunity. I’m beyond excited to be coming home to the CSC community and track and field program. I’m a proud member of the Eagle family and look forward to carrying on the strong tradition that has been building in recent years.”

Northrup attended Chadron State from 2006-2010. He earned All-American honors by clearing 6-foot-8 ¾ at the NCAA Division II National Indoor Meet in 2007, after going 6-10 ¼ earlier in the season for what turned out to be his collegiate best mark. In total he had five top-four finishes at the conference meets. He was a three-time provisional NCAA qualifier, in 2007, 2008, and 2010.

As a student-athlete at CSC, Northup earned the USTFCCCA’s individual All-Academic Award in 2007, 2008, and 2010. He graduated Cum Laude in 2010 with a degree in secondary education.

Additionally, Northrup served as a volunteer coach for Glenrock High School track in 2012, and coached at Gordon-Rushville High School during the 2010 spring season. As a student-athlete at Chadron State, Northrup was a volunteer coach for the Chadron High School track and field team from 2008-10.

Northrup continued competing while working on his master’s degree at Augustana University in South Dakota and entering “open” meets.  In the next few years, he cleared seven feet or more at least 10 times, topped by a leap of 7-2 ½.

Beginning in 2014 Northrup recorded high jump marks that were good enough to earn him trips to five USA Track and Field championship meets, including the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. He finished 5th at the 2014 indoor meet, but was unable to accept any further invitations due to complications arising from coaching commitments and injuries.

The Hot Springs, South Dakota, native, was an all-around athlete at Hot Springs High School. He earned all-conference as a wide receiver and safety in football and as a forward in basketball. He also placed second at the South Dakota state track and field meet in the high jump as a sophomore when he cleared 6-foot-5, but he won the event as a senior by going 6-4.

A press conference introducing Northrup as Chadron State’s Head Track and Field Coach is planned for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, August 22, at the Owens-Nauslar conference room in the Chicoine Center. The event will be streamed live online via the Chadron State Eagles page at

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