15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
PELLA—Central College men’s track and field multi-eventer Eric Larson (junior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) and distance runner Austin O’Brien (senior, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) swept the Iowa Conference men’s indoor track and field awards for their performances at the Wartburg Select Saturday.
Larson scored 5,271 points, the best total by a Division III athlete this season and six points less than his NCAA-title-winning sum last year, to win the heptathlon. He won five of the seven events, including personal bests in the high jump (6-foot-8), long jump (22-5.75) and shot put (38-4).
Larson also received U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Week honorable mention for his performance.
It is Larson’s second career conference indoor weekly honor (Feb. 6, 2012).
O’Brien led another Dutch charge in the distance events, winning the 3,000-meter run for the second consecutive meet and finishing runner-up in the mile. Central finished 1-2-3 individually in both races, as O’Brien covered the 3K in 8:34.15. Teammate Eli Horton (junior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) edged O’Brien by .15 seconds over the mile, finishing in 4:13.29 and 4:13.44, respectively.
It’s O’Brien’s second consecutive conference indoor honor. He was also cited after capturing the 3,000-meter title at the Dutch Athletics Classic Jan. 24.
Central finished third at the highly competitive six-team meet with 151 points.
The Dutch continue their seven straight weekends of indoor competition next Saturday at the Grinnell Darren Young Classic. Last season Central placed second at the 10-team meet. Teams take their marks at 10 a.m.