15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
IOWA CITY—The Central College men’s track and field team dominated the distance events once again at Friday’s Iowa Invitational, while the women’s team used its speed on the short track and in the relays.
“I wanted to see competitiveness and I saw that tonight,” coach Joe Dunham said. “It was a great overall effort by the Dutch. Our assistant coaches do such a great job working with our student-athletes. We’re blessed to have a quality staff with quality student-athletes.
“It’s a great time to be a part of this program.”
Men’s distance record falls again—Eli Horton (junior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) broke Austin O’Brien’s (senior, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) school record in the 3,000-meter run set at this season’s Dutch Athletics Classic as the duo finished Nos. 1 and 2. Horton finished more than seven seconds ahead of O’Brien in 8:21.94, more than four seconds faster than the previous record. Cole Decker (sophomore, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) finished fourth in 8:38.15, while Isaac Steffensmeier (freshman, St. Paul, Fort Madison HS) was eighth in 8:41.29. Once converted, Horton’s time will likely rank in the top 10 nationally.
“Eli ran the race completely by himself, which is difficult to do,” Dunham said. “We wanted him to qualify for the NCAA meet in the 3,000-meter run and that time should do it.
“Isaac has a bright future at Central. His time was about 10 seconds faster than his peak last year. I was really impressed with his effort tonight.”
Fellow distance runners Drew Jackson (junior, Johnston) and Jamie Vander Veer (junior, Knoxville) finished first and second in the 800-meter run. Jackson ran the best 800 time by a Dutch runner this year in 1:56.16, followed by Vander Veer’s personal-best 1:56.34.
“Drew and Jamie posted great times and there’s still a lot more there,” said Dunham. “I was pleased with their progression.
“Our distance runners put together some really good races. We’re still working some things out, but it was a good opportunity for our track team to prepare for next weekend. I was happy with the way we ran.”
Hurdler Dan Roemerman (sophomore, Iowa City, City High HS) placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.45. Sprinter Mitch Wagoner (senior, Iowa Falls, Iowa Falls-Alden HS) won his 200-meter dash heat in a season-best 23.07 seconds, placing eighth overall.
Throwers Steven Messerschmidt (senior, Neola, Tri-Center HS) and Gunnar Johnson (junior, Ankeny, Johnston HS) placed fifth and sixth in the shot put, respectively. Messerschmidt also tossed the weight 48-6.75, while Johnson set a personal record with a mark of 47-7.25.
“Steven had a great day throwing,” Dunham said. “He’s been really consistent all season. It was another move in the right direction. Gunner had a big throw in the shot as well. He’s improving and we’re looking for him to score at the conference meet.”
Dunham also noted the performance of pole vaulter Nick Lemmon (junior, Auburn, Wash., Kent-Meridian HS), who reached 12-11.5 in a fourth-place finish.
Sprinters, relays lead women—Sprinter Abi Davis (sophomore, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) bested runners from Drake and Western Illinois with a runner-up finish in the 200-meter dash in 25.60 seconds, 0.03 seconds off of Iowa’s Taylor Lynch’s pace. It’s the fastest time in the Iowa Conference and will likely rank in the top 20 nationally after conversion.
“Abi ran a fast race,” said Dunham. “It was a great effort by her and sets up nicely for next weekend’s conference meet.”
Davis was also part of Central’s top 4x400 relay team with Elin Phipps (sophomore, Boone), Taylor Beckman (junior, Panora, Panorama HS) and Camie Kibbee (junior, Mason City), which finished less than two seconds behind Western Illinois’ squad in its 4:04.35 runner-up performance. It’s the fastest time by a Dutch relay this season. Central’s second team of Abby Saladino (sophomore, Long Grove, North Scott HS), Meredith Zimmerman (junior, Urbandale), Gabrielle Muse (junior, Waukee) and Allie McBroom (junior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) finished third in 4:18.40.
Kibbee also ran a personal-best time of 59.48 for fourth in the 400-meter dash.
“Camie had a career day,” Dunham said. “She ran really well individually and then ran a great leg in the relay. It was a nice all-around day.”
Thrower Lorell Stuht (freshman, Loveland, Colo.) set a personal record in the weight throw with a toss of 44-4, topping her previous best by just under five feet.
Hurdler McKenna Zimmerman (junior, Urbandale) and her sister Meredith ran personal-best times of 9.51 and 9.66, respectively, in the 60-meter hurdles. The times bested their previous marks by 0.30 and 0.16 seconds and were good for seventh and eighth.
Distance runners Andie Arthofer (freshman, Dubuque, Senior HS) and Molly Bramble (sophomore, Waukee) also ran personal-best times of 5:33.78 and 5:34.19, respectively, in the mile.
LINCOLN, NEB.—The Dutch track and field teams sent a handful of student-athletes to Lincoln, Neb., for the Nebraska Tune-Up Friday as well.
The jumpers had the most success at the Huskers’ home meet. Logan Mulford (freshman, Mount Pleasant) placed 15th in the men’s high jump, clearing 6-0.75, while Hillary Hotz (junior, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS) cleared 5-3 in the women’s for 12th.
Sprinter Monica Ruiz (sophomore, Hudson) ran a personal-best time of 26.97 in the 200-meter dash for 22nd place. It’s more than one-half second faster than her previous best and is the fastest Dutch 200 this season.
Central takes its mark for the Iowa Conference championships next Friday and Saturday at Decorah. Last season at Dubuque the Dutch men won the title by two points (186-184) over Wartburg, while the women finished third behind the Knights and Luther.