2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA—Central College men’s track and field distance runner Eli Horton (junior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) has been named Iowa Conference male athlete of the week following his MVP performance at the league indoor meet, while men’s basketball guard Kevin Kaerwer (senior, El Paso, Texas, John L. Chapin HS) was named player of the week after leading the Dutch to the NCAA tournament.
Kaerwer, Dutch are dancing—Kaerwer led Central to its 10th NCAA tournament appearance by way of its 74-70 win over Luther College in Saturday’s league tournament championship game.
Kaerwer scored a team-high 19 points with three rebounds and three assists in the four-point win that had P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium dancing. He converted all seven free throw attempts, including two with 5.8 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game and send the Dutch to the national tournament.
In Thursday’s league semifinal, Kaerwer notched a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists, tying his career high for dimes in a game. He also hauled in six rebounds and converted all four of his free throw attempts, including two with 11 seconds remaining to push the Central lead to six points.
Kaerwer is averaging 15.5 points, 3.85 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game entering Friday’s NCAA tournament.
Central plays St. Olaf (Minn.) at Stevens Point, Wis., at 5 p.m.
Horton wins three, MVP—Horton led the Dutch distance contingent with three individual titles and the track events MVP award in Central’s runner-up team finish at the Iowa Conference indoor track and field championships Friday and Saturday at Decorah.
Horton won the mile run, 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs, all in championship-record-setting fashion. In Friday’s 5,000-meter run, Horton shattered the league championship record 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 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).
The Dutch will send a small group of athletes to Saturday’s Pointer Qualifier at Stevens Point, Wis., in hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Division III championships March 14-15 at Lincoln, Neb.