15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
SACRAMENTO, CALIF.—Former Central College NCAA Division III champion Kurtis Brondyke made the Dutch program’s biggest splash yet on the national stage with an 10th-place finish in the decathlon at the U.S.A. Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday.
Brondyke, a 2011 Central grad who won the 2011 Division III indoor pentathlon and placed second in the outdoor decathlon, scored 7,416 points in the elite 15-man field. Trey Hardee, a silver medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games, rolled up 8,599 points to run away with Friday’s crown, outdistancing runner-up Wesley Bray by 792 points. Brondyke’s total was about 200 shy his personal best but eclipsed his 7,283-point total in April when he captured the Drake Relays decathlon title. He was just 18 points away from eighth place Friday. Yet simply appearing at the U.S. meet was a milestone for Central’s program.
“What a great job by Kurtis to get to that level,” said Dutch coach Joe Dunham. “Every one of those athletes is spectacular. They’re in the top tier in the country and very close to world class. It’s amazing to see what he’s doing. We’re really proud of him. It’s a great day for the Dutch.”
A Clinton, Iowa native, Brondyke is serving as a graduate assistant coach at Central Missouri State University where he works with former Olympian Kip Janvrin, a fellow Iowan.
Brondyke was in eighth place much of the way after opening with a strong day Thursday. He turned in a strong time in the 100 meters, finishing in 11.16 seconds to score 825 points. He added 781 points with a long jump effort of 22 feet, 6.25 inches but fouled on two of his three attempts. He scored 698 points with a shot put throw of 44-4, cleared 6-5 to take second in the high jump for 767 points and closed the day by running the 400 meters in 50.58 seconds to score 788 points. He opened Friday with his most productive showing, scoring 830 points in running the 110-meter hurdles in 15.16 seconds, then threw 137-2 in the discus for 701 points. Brondyke struggled in the pole vault, clearing his first height at 13-5.25 but failing to go any higher. He came back with a toss of 190-7 in the javelin, traditionally one of his better events, for 709 points, then finished in 4:41.30 in the 1,500 meters for 672 points.
“He had some really good events but also had to overcome a little adversity, like most decathletes do,” Dunham said. “It’s pretty amazing for him to continue improving the way he has. It’s tough when you’re working full-time.”
That speaks to his dedication, Dunham said.
“Talent will only take you so far, then it takes hard work. Clearly Kurtis has put in a lot of work.”