15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
STEVENS POINT, WIS. — With a powerful field, conditions were ripe to earn some NCAA Division III indoor track and field championship spots, but Central College lacked any breakthrough performances at the Wis.-Stevens Point Pointer Qualifier Saturday.
The Dutch sent partial men’s and women’s squads as they gear up for the national meet in Lincoln, Neb. next Friday and Saturday.
Central’s No. 11-ranked men’s squad did get another strong showing in the mile from Austin O’Brien (senior, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS), who nearly matched his career best, finishing second in 4:13.91.
“He’ll get in (to the national meet),” Dunham said.
Cole Decker (sophomore, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) was fourth in the 5,000 meters (14:53.41) while Isaac Steffensmeier (freshman, St. Paul, Fort Madison HS) was sixth (15:03.28). Dan Roemerman (sophomore, Iowa City) was fourth in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.38 seconds, 0.12 seconds shy of his best. Steven Messerschmidt (senior, Neola, Tri-Center HS) was eighth in the weight throw (55 feet, 3 inches).
Dunham also liked what he saw in the 400 meters, where Spencer Hammack (sophomore, Ottumwa) was 13th but turned in a personal-best 50.61 seconds.
“That’s faster than his best time outdoors last year,” Dunham said. “He ran a great race.”
Jamie Vander Veer (junior, Knoxville) was 12th in the 800 in a career-best 1:55.31.
The Central women suffered a setback when Elin Phipps (sophomore, Boone) had to drop out of the 800 meters because of injury.
“It was a great field,” Dunham said. “Elin was ready to run a really fast 800.”
Dunham said the Dutch need to look ahead.
“It was just one of those weekends,” he said. “We got some good experience and that’s about the extent of it. But we’ve got a big weekend coming up and we’ve got a good group going to the national meet. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for that and everyone else just needs to move forward and start training for outdoor season.”
The long trip did yield one dividend as the squads were able to linger a few hours after the meet to support the Central men’s basketball squad in its NCAA tournament contest at No. 1 Wis.-Stevens Point before making the long trek back to Pella.