15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
MONMOUTH, ILL. — With eyes intently focused on next week’s Iowa Conference meet, the Central College men’s and women’s track and field squads nonetheless produced some dominant individual showings at the Monmouth (Ill.) Invitational Saturday.
The Dutch men were second in a 10-team field while the women were fourth, but both squads left some key performers at home. Monmouth won both titles with 198.5 points to Central’s 110.5 in the men’s division and 224 points to Central’s 74 in the women’s.
Hotz, Davis shine for women—Hillary Hotz (junior, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS) cleared a career-best five feet, six inches in the high jump, placing second and vaulting into contention for an NCAA Division III meet berth. That would have ranked 10th in Division III at the start of the day.
“That was really big for her,” coach Joe Dunham said.
Meanwhile, standout sprinter Abi Davis (sophomore, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) moved up to the 400 meters and etched her name on the national meet charts, placing second in a career-best 56.35 seconds. She also won the 100 meters in 12.29 seconds.
Dunham also cited Lorell Stuht (freshman, Loveland, Colo.) and April McCarthy (sophomore, Stoughton, Wis.) for personal bests in the discus. Stuht was fourth in 126-4 while McCarthy was eighth in 115-0.
McKenna Zimmerman (junior, Urbandale) was third in the 100-meter hurdles (15.86 seconds), a notch ahead of Abby Saladino (sophomore, Long Grove, North Scott HS) (16.41 seconds). Zimmerman was also third in the triple jump (34-11). Sarah Mueller (junior, Urbandale) was fourth in the 800 meters (2:23.54), Emma Drees (freshman, Waukee) was third in the 400-meter hurdles (1:07.65) and Whitney Pavlat (senior, Pella) was third in the javelin (121-3). Mueller, Kasey Wiedmaier (freshman, Indianola), Kyle Bradley (freshman, Urbandale) and Drees teamed to take third in the 4x400-meter relay (4:15.01).
Horton, Roemerman, Tack, Shepherd win for men—Eli Horton (junior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) and Jamie Vander Veer (junior, Knoxville) went one-two in the 1,500 meters in 3:57.22 and 4:03.75, respectively. Dan Roemerman (sophomore, Iowa City) was first in the 110-meter hurdles (15.17 seconds) and Josh Tack (junior, Hudson) won the discus (149-10) while Steven Messerschmidt (senior, Neola, Tri-Center HS) was third in the discus (148-1), turned in a personal best in the shot put (49-2.5) and was fourth in the hammer throw (156-2).
Timothy Shepherd (junior, Knoxville) ran a career-best 9:59.52 to win the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Shepherd’s time was especially notable given the windy conditions, Dunham said.
“That was a breakout race for him,” he said.
Brian Zahnle (junior, Morrison, Ill., Fulton HS) was fourth in the triple jump (40-9) after taking sixth in the long jump.
Mason Zimmerman (junior, Urbandale), Roemerman, Austin Roberts (sophomore, Bloomfield, Davis County HS) and Jackson were second in the 4x400-meter relay (3:21.81) while Mitch Wagoner (senior, Iowa Falls, Iowa Falls-Alden HS), Roemerman, Cole Ebel (sophomore, Sutherland, South O’Brien HS) and Zimmerman teamed to take third in the 4x100-meter relay (42.73 seconds).
Drew Jackson (junior, Johnston) had a personal best in the 800 meters, placing second (1:54.82) with Austin O’Brien (senior, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) fourth (1:58.16).
“We just took it easy and used this as a tune-up for the conference meet,” Dunham said.
The league meet will be staged Thursday through Saturday at Luther College in Decorah. The decathlon/heptathlon will begin Thursday, with other events following the next two days.
Injuries have dampened Central’s hopes for a men’s team title. Division III decathlon champion Eric Larson (junior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) remains the biggest name on the Central sidelines but the Dutch have several other athletes at less than full strength, Dunham said.
“We’ve been been battling a lot of sickness and injuries,” he said. “We’re kind of coming out of it now. Hopefully one more week of light workouts and rest will help.”
Dunham said Wartburg College will carry the favorites’ tag in both the men’s and women’s competition. Central’s teams should have strong shots for second place.
“We’ll compete at the highest level we can,” Dunham said.
Meanwhile the Dutch are also hopeful of sending another large contingent to the NCAA Division III championships May 22-24 in Delaware, Ohio. Several are close to qualifying but need a little better performances.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who are right there,” Dunham said.