15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
PELLA—The Central College men’s track and field team improved to No. 11 in this week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division III indoor national poll as the NCAA Div. III Championships approach March 14-15.
The Dutch climbed as high as No. 9 Jan. 29 and were most recently No. 11. Central has been ranked in the top 16 in every poll this season.
Central finished runner-up at last weekend’s Iowa Conference indoor championships behind Eli Horton’s (junior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) MVP performance. Horton was named track events MVP after winning the mile, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs in championship-record-setting fashion. In Friday’s 5,000-meter run, Horton shattered the previous best mark by more than 17 seconds, crossing the line in 14:27.80. The Dutch finished 1-2-4-5 individually. In Saturday’s mile, Horton edged out teammate Austin O’Brien (senior, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) at the tape in 4:13.13. Shortly thereafter, Horton set yet another championship mark in the 3,000-meter run, crossing the line in 8:24.56.
Central scored 72 of its 169.5 points in the three distance events Horton won.
Horton’s 5,000-meter time ranks fourth nationally, while his mile ranks 15th. He also owns top-12 times in the distance medley relay (fifth) and the 3,000-meter run (12th).
Wis.-La Crosse, the 2013 indoor national champion, remained the top-ranked team. Fellow Wisconsin schools Wis.-Eau Claire, Wis.-Oshkosh and Wis.-Whitewater came in at Nos. 2-4, respectively. North Central (Ill.), Mount Union (Ohio), Tufts (Mass.), Haverford (Pa.), Southern Maine and MIT (Mass.) round out the top 10. League champion Wartburg remains the only other league school in the top 25, dropping one spot to No. 14.
Central is sending a small group of athletes to a pair of last chance meets for NCAA qualifying this weekend. The Dutch will compete at the Wis.-Platteville Last Chance Meet Friday and Saturday’s Pointer Qualifier at Stevens Point, Wis.