15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
DES MOINES — The progress coach Joe Dunham saw in his Central College men’s and women’s track and field squads at the Drake Relays Friday wasn’t measured in the place finishes.
The Dutch were entered in six races and failed to advance to the finals of any in the prestigious field. But Dunham was encouraged by the performances, particularly in the women’s 4x400-meter relay. Central’s unit of Camie Kibbee (sophomore, Mason City), Taylor Beckman (sophomore, Panora, Panorama HS), Katie Sunderman (freshman, Pella) and Felicia Coleman (senior, Houston, Texas, J. Frank Dobie HS) finished sixth in its heat and a distant 19th overall in 3 minutes, 57.64 seconds, but was slowed by a dropped baton.
“We lost about 3 seconds because of that, but it was a great effort,” Dunham said. “Felicia ran a 55.7 (split). I was really proud of them. There’s no question that it’s there, we just have to put it together. We definitely made progress.”
Likewise the men’s foursome of Tyler Westphal (senior, Le Mars), Mason Zimmerman (sophomore, Urbandale), Austin Roberts (freshman, Bloomfield, Davis County HS) and Spencer Hammack (freshman, Ottumwa) was sixth in its heat and 25th overall in 3:19.41.
“We’re optimistic that they can keep improving and get into the conversation about getting to nationals,” Dunham said.
In the women’s 4x100-meter relay, the unit of Monica Ruiz (freshman, Hudson), Sunderman, Coleman and Beckman was 19th in 49.23 seconds. And the distance medley squad of Molly Bramble (freshman, Waukee), Beckman, Sarah Mueller (sophomore, Urbandale) and Elin Phipps (freshman, Boone) was 13th in 12:37.39.
The men’s 4x100 foursome of Mitch Wagoner (junior, Iowa Falls, Iowa Falls-Alden HS), Logan Danko (senior, Centerville), Philip Heisterkamp (senior, Jefferson, Jefferson-Scranton HS) and Zimmerman was 22nd overall in 42.75 seconds. And the 4x200 unit of Wagoner, Danko, Heisterkamp and Zimmerman was 11th in 1:29.60.
A day against powerhouse competition at Drake will serve the Dutch well, Dunham said.
“It’s always a great opportunity to run on the Blue Oval,” he said. “This is a very young team. Getting experience on the big stage will help them grow.”
Central comes back in four relays Saturday and Dunham is hopeful the Dutch can make some noise, particularly in the men’s distance medley and the men’s and women’s sprint medley.
“We’ve got all those relays about as loaded up (with top runners) as we can make them,” he said.
The remainder of the Central men’s and women’s teams were competing Friday afternoon and evening at the non-scored Kip Janvrin Open at Indianola.
Central College Drake Relays schedule of events
Saturday, April 27
8:30 a.m. – men’s shuttle hurdle relay
8:40 a.m. – women’s sprint medley relay
9 a.m. – men’s sprint medley relay
11:07 a.m. – men’s distance medley relay