15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
WALNUT, CALF.—Central College freshman Cole Decker (Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) crushed a 19-year old track and field school record Thursday evening at the Mount San Antiono College Relays in California.
Decker crossed the finish line of the 10,000-meter run in 29 minutes 59.31 seconds, over a minute faster than Andy Goodman’s 1994 mark of 30:59.72. He finished 12th in his heat at the elite southern California meet, which features hundreds of runners, primarily from Division I schools.
“Cole’s race was truly special,” said coach Joe Dunham. “Breaking the school record by an entire minute has left me speechless. He ran very aggressively and was ahead of his goal pace the entire race.”
Decker clocked a 14:55 mark at the halfway point before coming back in 15:04 over the remainder of the race.
“I was really pleased because he showed mental toughness,” said Dunham. “He ran by himself between the lead and chase packs for most of the race and caught a few of the guys from the front pack with a strong finish.”
The Dutch nearly saw two records taken down, with cross country all-American Eli Horton (sophomore, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) recording a time of 3:51.06 in the 1,500 meters. He was fourth in his heat and less than half a second from Jon Lindaman’s 1999 record of 3:50.74.
“Eli had a great race,” said coach Joe Dunham. “He ran smart and wasn’t rattled by the fierce competition.”
Dunham also cited Horton’s composure.
“He got boxed in on the second lap but wasn’t affected by that,” said Dunham. “He was patient and waited for a window to get to the outside. He made a strong move with 300 meters to go that set him up nicely for the finish. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Drew Jackson (sophomore, Johnston) finished 21st in his heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 9:42.97.
“Drew struggled today but it wasn’t from a lack of effort,” said Dunham. “He was close to his personal best but still needs to work on his water jump.”
“He is close to doing something very special in that event,” said Dunham. “Drew is one of the most determined athletes we have. Even though his race didn’t come together perfectly I’m proud of him.”
Horton is also scheduled to compete in the 5,000 meters Friday evening.
“Eli is looking to move up on the Division III performance list,” said Dunham. “We have an aggressive race plan.”
Both Horton and Decker are third on the Division III lists in the 1,500 and 10,000 meters respectively.
The Dutch will play host to the Central Open Saturday at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium in Pella. Field events will begin at 10 a.m. with running events slated for 11 a.m.
“I am excited for our team to compete on our home tack one more time this year and I know that are motivated to accomplish some great things,” said Dunham. “We should have some good teams here and the weather is looking good.”