15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
PELLA—Central College’s Eli Horton (sophomore, Runnels, Southeast Polk HS) and Eric Larson (sophomore, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) are the Division III Central Region’s outdoor track events and field events athletes of the year, while Joe Dunham was named men’s coach of the year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Dunham, who also received the honor in 2011 and 2012, guided the men’s program to a runner-up finish at the Iowa Conference outdoor championship meet. It was the squad’s 21st league championship or runner-up finish in 23 years.
Horton, an all-American honoree in both cross country and indoor track, will make his first trip to the outdoor national championships. He was a two-time league outdoor champion in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters and will be accepted into the national field in both events. He holds the top spot in the 5,000 meters and is ranked 19th in the 1,500 meters.
Larson, already a veteran of the national meet, is the top qualifier in the decathlon after winning the Division III indoor heptathlon championship in March. He earned all-America honors by placing fifth in last year’s decathlon competition. Larson was also voted the team’s 2013 Most Valuable Performer.
Central is ranked 10th in Division III and will be vying for its third-straight top-10 finish at the national championships hosted by Wis.-La Crosse from May 23-25. Entries to the championship field will be finalized Sunday, with the top 20 and 22 marks being accepted to the men’s and women’s fields, respectively, along with the top 16 relays.