15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
BOSTON, MASS.—Six Central College men’s track athletes journeyed to Massachusetts for the Tufts University Cupid Challenge and the Boston University Scarlet and White Invitational and returned with two school records and national top-10 times.
The distance medley relay team of Austin O’Brien (senior, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS), LJ Lipscomb (junior, Johnston), Drew Jackson (junior, Johnston) and Eli Horton (junior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) combined for a school-record time of 9:58.23 at Tufts, outpacing the previous best set in 2006 by .89 seconds. O’Brien followed up the relay record with an individual record in the 5,000-meter run in 14:26.62 at Boston, more than 11 seconds ahead of teammate Horton’s mark from 2012.
The distance medley relay team, the primary purpose of the trip, competed at Tufts in hopes of posting a potential qualifying time for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships.
And that’s exactly what it did.
Made up of four legs—1,200-meters, 400-meters, 800-meters and 1,600-meters—the Central squad finished third with the No. 3-ranked time nationally. Coach Joe Dunham said the time will likely send the relay team to Lincoln, Neb., the site of this year’s national meet, March 14-15.
Haverford’s (Mass.) distance medley relay team won the event in 9:58.01, followed by Tufts’ quad in 9:58.17. Haverford is the No. 5-ranked squad in the nation, while Tufts is No. 7.
Kyle Nuehring (sophomore, Waukee) followed up the record-setting performance with a third-place finish in the 800-meter run in 1:56.98, a personal best by nearly seven seconds. Lipscomb also competed in the 800 and finished 11th in 2:01.55.
Following the 800-meter run, the Dutch contingent made its way to Boston University for the 5,000-meter run. O’Brien, Horton, Cole Decker (sophomore, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) and Jackson competed in the 10-runner event. O’Brien’s winning time ranks No. 5 nationally. Horton finished third in 14:58.78, while Decker and Jackson finished fourth and sixth, respectively.
“I was really happy with the effort put in by our men today,” said Dunham. “We set two school records and made a lot of progress. It was a great weekend and a great experience.”
The Dutch are scheduled to compete in a pair of competitions Friday. Central will send athletes to both the Nebraska Tune-Up at Lincoln, Neb. and the Iowa Invitational at Iowa City. Meet times are set for 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., respectively.