15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
GRINNELL—Central College senior Felicia Coleman (Houston, Texas, J. Frank Dobie HS) was named the women’s track and field Most Valuable Performer after a pair of convincing victories at the Grinnell College Darren Young Classic Saturday. The Dutch men added three more wins and a runner-up team finish.
Coleman continues dominant season—Coleman nearly broke her own record in the 60-meter dash again, crossing the line in 7.81 seconds for the easy victory en route to setting a new meet record. She doubled back in 4x400-meter relay, running the anchor leg in a come-from-behind win along with Melanie Nielsen (freshman, Atlantic), Taylor Beckman (sophomore, Panora, Panorama HS), and Elin Phipps (freshman, Boone). Their time of four minutes, 1.38 seconds is a season’s best and is tied for 13th in Division III.
“That award is a tribute to all of the hard work that Felicia has put in,” said coach Joe Dunham. “She has been able to run consistently every week. And Coach (Jim) Fuller has done a great job of getting her ready to race.”
Dutch men sweep hurdles—The Central men’s effort was highlighted by 1-2-3 sweep of the 60-meter hurdles. Eric Larson (sophomore, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) led the charge, winning the event in 8.42 seconds. Freshman teammates Dan Roemerman (Iowa City, City HS) and Drake Hickok (Cedar Rapids, Washington HS) finished in 8.47 and 8.54 seconds, respectively.
“It was exciting to see how well that group did,” said Dunham. “They are all young and should be very good for a while. Coach (Scott) Tjeerdsma has really got them performing well this year.”
Larson also captured the high jump (6-2.75) while senior Logan Danko (senior, Centerville) won the 200 meters (22.71).
Other notable performances include runner-up finishes for Cole Decker (freshman, Des Moines, West Des Moines Dowling HS) in the 3,000 meters (8:44.23) and Steve Messerschmidt (junior, Neola, Tri-Center HS) in the weight throw (52-10.75). The 4x400 relay of Spencer Hammack (freshman, Ottumwa), Tyler Westphal (senior, Le Mars), Austin Roberts (freshman, Bloomfield, Davis County HS), and Hickok took third in 3:25.22, Ben Schornack (senior, Urbandale) was third in the 800 meters (1:57.68), and Tess Ory (freshman, Earlham) tied for third in the high jump (5-1).
The Dutch men racked up 94 points to take second in the ten-team field. Augustana (Ill.) won the title with 131 points. Central’s women scored 38.5 points to take sixth in the nine-team field. Nebraska Wesleyan took the women’s trophy with 105 points.
“Overall it was a well-rounded effort from both teams,” said Dunham. It is exciting to be part of their coaching staff right now. We are right on the brink of where we want to be for the conference championships in two weeks.”
The Dutch will return to action Friday at the University of Iowa Invitational in Iowa City. Field events are slated to begin at 4 p.m. with running events starting at 4:35 p.m.
“There is a lot of high-level competition at the Iowa meet,” said Dunham. “It will be a good tune-up before conference.”