HELENA — On Feb. 6, Nikki Krueger etched her name at the top of the NAIA rankings with a 46 foot, 8 inch shot put throw at the Blue Hawk Classic in Dickinson, North Dakota.
While she was competing, Krueger wasn't sure whether or not her throw would be enough to get her into the top spot in the nation, but after she found out, she certainly wasn't surprised.
"I wasn't quite sure how far it was, but I had known I've been throwing that in practice. So it wasn't a big surprise, but it was definitely a lot of pressure off my shoulders," said Krueger.
Krueger started her journey throwing shot put and discus in high school, and followed in her sister's footsteps to throw for the Fighting Saints.
"In high school, I was really close friends with the head track coach for the girls side and he was like, 'We're going to make you a thrower.' My sister was a thrower before me. She threw here at Carroll too," said Krueger. "I've beat her in (shot put and discus distance), so now I can say I'm better."
As of now, Krueger stands atop the NAIA with her current 46-08 mark. While she can’t control what other athletes are going to do, that doesn’t mean she has any plans of kicking her feet up and waiting for someone to pass her.
“It's definitely a waiting game to see if anyone else is going to pop off a big throw, but for the most part, my goal at the end of the year is to at least hit 50 (feet)," said Krueger. "Just going to keep grinding towards that.”
Up next for the Fighting Saints is a meet at Black Hills State in Spearfish, South Dakota on Feb. 20, where Krueger will continue to push for that 50-foot throw.