15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
CLAREMONT, CALIF.—Eight Central College track and field athletes walked away from the NCAA Division III championships with all-America plaques Saturday after top-eight finishes in the men’s 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays and the women’s shot put.
Already an all-American after the hammer throw Friday, senior Morgan Darrow (Newell, Storm Lake HS) capped her collegiate career with a monster performance in the shot put Saturday. On her first attempt, Darrow launched a personal-record mark of 46 feet, 11.75 inches to grab a momentary lead before finishing third at the conclusion of the event. Her mark was exactly a foot further than her previous personal best at the Iowa Conference championships May 12.
“Morgan stepped it up again at big meet,” said coach Joe Dunham. “She’s such a competitor and this was a great way to finish her collegiate career.”
On the track, the 4x100-meter relay team of Mitch Wagoner (sophomore, Iowa Falls, Iowa Falls-Alden HS), Logan Danko (junior, Centerville), Kyle Wood (senior, Newton), and Allen Scovel (senior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) finished fifth in a hotly-contested field, crossing the line in 41.17 seconds, one-hundredth faster than their season’s best mark in the preliminary round. Including Saturday’s performance the Dutch have garnered all-America honors in the 4x100 each of the past three years.
“They guys were really dialed in today,” said Dunham. “We even had one bad handoff but still managed our best time of the year. They ran incredibly consistent over the course of the season and today was no different.”
In the final event of the day, Wood, Trevor Veach (senior, Grinnell), Alex Edwards (freshman, Knoxville), and Scovel smashed their previous season’s best in the 4x400-meter relay, finishing with a time of 3:11.92 en route to a sixth-place finish. That mark was also good enough to vault them up to sixth on Central’s all-time performance list.
“There was a lot of veteran leadership on that team,” said Dunham. “I couldn’t be happier with how they competed.”
Senior Phil Miller (Vinton, Vinton-Shellsburg HS) contested the shot put, but was unable to advance to the final after not recording a mark in his first three attempts.
“Phil knew he needed a big throw to be an all-American and he went for it,” said Dunham. “It’s disappointing that he didn’t advance up but he has no regrets. He had a great season.”
The Dutch men concluded the weekend with 21 points and finished in a tie for ninth place. It’s the second consecutive year that Central has recorded a top-10 finish after finishing seventh in 2011 and the seventh time in the program’s history.
Meanwhile, Central’s women scored 10 points to finish in a tie for 20th. It marked the eighth time the Dutch have been inside the top 20 in the program’s history, including a 17th-place finish in 2011.
Eight seniors concluded their collegiate careers Friday and Saturday, including Darrow, Wood, Scovel, Veach, Phil Miller, Ethan Miller (Seymour), Tyler Crouse (Hedrick, Pekin HS), and Caitlin Wilson (Oakland, Riverside HS). Dunham cited their contributions to the team over the past four years.
“It was an incredible senior class that brought a lot of success to our program,” said Dunham. “They will leave a legacy that will last a long time at Central.”
But the fourth-year coach is also looking towards the future.
“We have a lot of underclassmen that gained valuable experience this season,” said Dunham. “Along with our recruiting class, we have a lot to look forward to in the future.”