15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
NAPERVILLE, ILL.—Central College’s Eric Larson (sophomore, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) posted three personal bests to grab a first-day lead in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division III indoor track and field championships Friday.
Meanwhile, Felicia Coleman (senior, Houston, Texas, J. Frank Dobie HS) qualified for the finals in the 60-meters, setting a new school record, and Eli Horton (sophomore, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) advanced to the finals in the mile.
Larson matched his previous best in the 60-meters, crossing the line in 7.19, before posting a 21-10.74 mark in the long jump. He bested his shot put mark by six inches at 37-8.5 and set a new personal record in the high jump at 6-7.5.
“Eric had a great day and really stepped up and competed,” coach Joe Dunham said. “He even had a bigger throw on the shot put, but scratched. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to him and Coach (Jim) Fuller.”
Larson leads the field with 2,949 points. Maxwell Dunne of St. Thomas (Minn.) is second with 2,817 while Tyler Mettille of Mount Union (Ohio) is third with 2,782. Larson garnered all-America honors last year, finishing eighth with 4,479 points.
Coleman crossed the line in 7.70 seconds, edging her previous school record and personal best of 7.72. She placed fourth in the preliminaries. Buffalo State’s (N.Y.) Sasha Henry finished first with a meet-record 7.54.
“Felicia had a slow start out of the blocks but recovered well,” Dunham said. “Getting a PR at a national meet is a phenomenal thing. “
Horton raced to ninth place in the mile with 4:16.22. Bowdoin’s (Maine) Coby Horowitz won the preliminaries with 4:13.01.
“Eli had kind of a rough race and struggled to get into rhythm, but still made the finals,” Dunham said. “The mile prelims are pretty strategic and Eli did a great job getting into position to move on to the finals. I’m very confident he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Dunham said the atmosphere was extremely intense.
“It’s easy to let the pressure get to you,” Dunham said. “We don’t see an atmosphere like this all year and Eric, Felicia and Eli stepped up and totally answered the call, which wasn’t a surprise. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
The meet resumes Saturday, starting with the men’s heptathlon at 11 a.m. Larson’s final events include the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000 meters. The mile is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. with the 60-meters at 2:50 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Mount Union (Ohio) sports information