The 2013-14 year will mark Dan Lefever's 12th season at the University of Missouri working with the vertical jumps and combined events, and fourth year as the program's Associate Head Coach. Since his arrival at Missouri in 2003, Lefever has been instrumental in the development of one of the strongest combined event and pole vault programs in the nation, and has led a series of highly successful athletes on both the collegiate and post-collegiate stages.
The most recent in that long line is current Tiger, Katrine Haarklau, who kicked off her collegiate career in 2012 with a school record in the pole vault (4.20m / 13-9.25) and a 15th-place performance at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Haarklau continued to improve under Lefever's tutelage in 2013, as she advanced her pole vault school record to 4.35m (14-3.25) en-route to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The sophomore also added a javelin school record (49.56m / 162-7) and All-Time Top Ten marks in the 100m hurdles, 60m hurdles, indoor pole vault, outdoor heptathlon, and indoor pentathlon to her increasingly impressive resume.
Haarklau was one of Lefever's two athletes to score at the 2013 Outdoor SEC Championships, held on the Tigers home track at the Audrey J. Walton Stadium. She earned All-SEC honors with her third-place finish in the pole vault, and just missed out on a second All-SEC finish after ending the javelin competition in fourth.
Fellow-sophomore Ser Whitaker had a break-out performance in the decathlon, finishing fourth in the conference with a PR of 7,047 points, also good for the seventh spot on the All-Time list.
Lefever's athletes also contribued to the eight-place for the men, ninth for the women, at their first SEC Indoor Championships. Sophomore Mitch Hatten topped off an impressive season with a sixth-place finish in the high jump competition, and sophomore Morgan Whitson earned a PR performance in the pentathlon to finish seventh overall.
All in all, Lefever's athletes hold 44 of the current All-Time Top Ten marks for the pole vault, high jump, and combined events. That includes a complete re-write of the women's indoor and outdoor pole vault record books, as all 20 spots consist of marks made since Lefever's arrival in 2003. Ninenteen of Lefever's combined event athletes also hold All-Time Top Ten marks in the individual events within the combined competitions. And, finally, six All-Time Top Ten marks in the triple and long jumps were also achieved under Lefeve's leadership, including the indoor and outdoor triple jump school records by Hedvig Glomsroed.
THE DAN LEFEVER FILE
Education: B.S. in Exercise Science, Psychology - Nebraska Wesleyan ('00) M.A. in Counseling Psychology - Boston College
Lefever came to Missouri from Boston College, where he established the pole vault as a strong event in the Eagles' women's program, highlighted by All-Big East honors for three of his athletes. Upon his arrival at Mizzou in 2003, Lefever made an immediate impact with the pole vault group, coaching junior Jennifer Bennett to the Tigers' first ever All-American finish in the event for the women, and first for the event as a whole since 1958.
Since then, Lefever has coached two more All-American pole vault talents: Haarklau, and 2011 graduate Brian Hancock. Hancock earned five All-American titles during his time as a Tiger, and currently holds the Missouri School Records for the indoor and outdoor pole vault.
The following year, Lefever mentored his first in a long tradition of successful Norwegian student-athletes, working with sophomore combined event specialist Hans Uldal in the pole vault. Uldal went on to become the first Tiger decathlete to qualify for the Olympic Games in 80 years, representing Norway in Athens after breaking the Missouri School Record in the event at the Norwegian Championships (7,733 points).
Lefever took over the combined events group in 2006 and began to establish himself as one of the premier combined event coaches in the nation, helping Uldal ecplise the prodigious 8,000-point mark in the decathlon. Uldal scored 8,018-points during the Audrey Walton Combined Events to qualify for the 2007 IAAF World Championships.
In 2008 a trio of younger Tigers took the mainstage under Lefever's guidance: freshman Lars Rise (combined events), sophomore Nick Adcock (combined events), and sophomore Brian Hancock (pole vault). Included among the accolades garnered by these three athletes were 14 All-American honors, an NCAA Indoor Runner-Up finish, 19 All-Big 12 finishes, two Big 12 Champions, and a new Big 12 Indoor Championships Record.
In 2008, Hancock became the first male Tiger in 50 years to take home an All-American finish in the pole vault, joining Jennifer Bennett as the only two Mizzou pole vaulters to earn the award since 1958. This year was also the first of the one-two punch that was Nick Adcock and Lars Rise in the combined events. Adcock finished as runner-up at the Big 12 Championships for the decathlon, followed closely by Rise in third. The young duo then went on to take fourth and seventh at the NCAA Championships, with Adcock once again leading the way.
Lefever continued to make his name known on the international level, coaching Rise to two Nordic Junior Championship titles and an IAAF World Youth Championships, and Nick Adcock to a Silver Medal at the 2007 Pan-American Junior Championships, a Gold Medal at the USATF Junior Decathlon, and another Silver at the 2007 NACAC U23 Championships.
The accolades continued rolling in for Adcock, Rise, and Hancock in 2009. Hancock and Adcock both added another NCAA Indoor All-American honor to their resumes, and Hancock went on to repeat the performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He was joined by Rise on the NCAA Outdoor Championships' podium after his outstanding fourth-place performance in the decathlon.
Adcock ended his career as a Tiger in 2010 with a pair of Big 12 titles for the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon, the Midwest Regional Athlete of the Year award, a new Big 12 Indoor Heptathlon Record (5,938 points), and another All-American finish. Joining him on both podiums during the indoor season was junior Lars Rise, who finished fourth at the Big 12 Championships and fifth at the NCAA Championships. They both repeated their All-Big 12 and All-American performances during the outdoor season, with Adcock once again nabbing a Big 12 title in the decathlon, followed closely by Rise in second.
2011 was the final year in the black and gold for Lars Rise, and he certainly took advantage, exiting his career as a Tiger with two more All-American finishes, including a runner-up performance during the indoor season, and an Indoor Big 12 silver and Outdoor Big 12 title. Probably the highlight of the year for both athlete and coach was the NCAA Indoor Championships where, in the final event of the competition, Rise moved up two places in the field to finish second in the nation with a PR and new Norwegian National Record (5,902 points).
As an undergraduate at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lefever was an outstanding pole vaulter and team captain. He was the 1999 NCAA Division III and NAIA Runner-Up in the event, and finished his collegiate career having won five conference titles and placing second in the remaining conference meets. He was honored as the Nebraska Wesleyan University's Outstanding Male Athlete in 1999.
Key Athletes... Lars Rise, Combined Events ('11): Two-time Nordic Junior Champion | IAAF World Youth Championships qualifier | 2011 Big 12 Champion (decathlon) | Six-time All-American | Seven-time All-Big 12 Brian Hancock, Pole Vault ('11): Five-time All-American | Four-time All-Big 12 | Missouri School Record Holder (indoor/outdoor pole vault) Nick Adcock, Combined Events ('10): 2007 Pan-American Junior Silver Medalist | 2007 USATF Junior Decathlon Champion | 2007 NACAC U23 Silver Mealist | Three-time All-American | Big 12 Champion | Eight-time All-Big 12 | Big 12 Indoor Championships Record Holder for the heptathlon (5,938 points) | 2010 Midwest Athlete of the Year Hans Uldal, Combined Events ('07): 2004 Olympian for Norway (decathlon) | 2007 European Cup Gold Medalist | 2005 NCAA Bronze Medalist | 2005 Norwegian National Champion | Four-time All-American | 2005 Big 12 Champion | Seven-time All-Big 12 | Missouri School Record Holder (decathlon, 60m hurdles, heptathlon) Jennifer Bennett, Pole Vault ('05): All-American | Big 12 Champion | Six-time All-Big 12 | Missouri School Record Holder (indoor/outdoor pole vault)