11 NCAA Div. III individual championships
2014 Iowa Conference indoor finish: 5th
2014 Iowa Conference outdoor finish: 4th
2014 NCAA Div. III indoor finish: 23rd (tie)
2014 NCAA Div. III outdoor finish: 16th (tie)
2014 NCAA Div. III indoor national ranking: NR
2014 NCAA Div. III outdoor national ranking: NR
2014 NCAA Div. III indoor qualifiers: Abi Davis (60-meter dash, 200-meter dash)
2014 NCAA Div. III outdoor qualifiers: Abi Davis (200-meter dash), Davis, Allie McBroom, Camie Kibbee, Monica Ruiz (4x400-meter relay), Hilary Hotz (high jump)
Returning NCAA outdoor qualifiers: 5
Letterwinners lost: 7
Letterwinners returning: 20
The Central College women’s track and field team returns a wealth of experience from its 2014 squad that placed 16th at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, and gets a boost from a talented freshman class.
All five Dutch athletes that participated in the national meet are back in 2015, including all-American junior sprinter Abi Davis. She placed in the top five in Division III in three events last season. Davis took second in the 60-meter dash at the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships and finished second in the 200-meter dash and fourth in the 100-meters at the outdoor national meet.
Coach Joe Dunham thinks his team is poised for big things.
“This is probably the best women’s team I’ve ever coached here at Central,” said the seventh-year head coach. “A big reason for that is our depth, particularly in our sprints and our field events.”
Dunham thinks the Dutch can move up in the Iowa Conference standings. Central returns 20 letterwinners from last year’s team that placed fifth at the indoor meet and fourth outdoors.
“We have a chance to make some noise in the conference meet and hopefully we can put it all together,” said Dunham. “We want to be in position to be in the top three in our conference.”
Davis leads a deep group of Dutch sprinters. She set school records in the indoor 60-meters, outdoor 100 and 200-meters last season.
Also back is senior Allie McBroom. She was a part of a 4x400-meter relay team with Davis, junior Monica Ruiz and senior Camie Kibbee that took second at the outdoor conference meet and 15th at the outdoor national meet.
“I think Allie McBroom is probably the most improved athlete on the team,” said Dunham. “She is another person who has really taken advantage of the offseason. That’s paying off big time for her.”
Kibbee is seeking to earn all-conference honors at the indoor and outdoor meets for the third year in a row. She finished first in the 400-meters at the outdoor league meet last season. Other key contributors for the Dutch in the sprints include Ruiz and freshmen Trenetta Blocker, Kate Patton and Regan Engleman.
“We have some good talent coming up that I’m really excited about,” said Dunham.
Another area with a number of returners is the jumping events. Senior Hillary Hotz earned all-conference honors at the indoor high jump before placing 18th at the outdoor national meet with a leap of five feet, three inches.
The Dutch have long jump depth with senior McKenna Zimmerman, junior Ashlee Downs and sophomore Morgan Koenigs. The team also returns two experienced triple jumpers in Zimmerman and senior Taylor Beckman.
“We return a lot this year,” said Dunham. “I think our jumps will be an area where we will be very strong.
Senior Meredith Zimmerman is coming off of a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles at the outdoor conference meet.
“Meredith is having probably the best indoor season of her career at Central by far,” said Dunham. “She is only getting faster and only getting better. I’m really proud of the work she has put in.”
Zimmerman will be joined in the hurdles by her sister McKenna, junior Abby Saladino, senior Kaitlyn Gillett, sophomore Emma Drees and Koenigs.
The middle-distance and distance runners benefit from Central’s cross country program, which finished fourth in the conference last fall. Junior Molly Bramble is looking to earn all-conference honors for the third straight year in the 4x800-meter relay.
“Molly Bramble has done a great job for us so far,” said Dunham.
All three teammates joining Bramble on the relay team that placed third at the conference meet are back. Senior Sarah Mueller and sophomores Andie Arthofer and Kasey Wiedmaier will participate in a variety of mid-distance and distance races.
Junior Elin Phipps will play a big role in the middle distance events as well. She ran the team’s fastest time in both the 800-meter run and 1,500-meter run last season and was only one second off of the school record in the 800. McBroom will also participate in some mid-distance events. She holds the school record in the indoor 600-meter run.
The Dutch will look to some of the young cross country athletes to step up in the distance events. Freshmen Evie Kammayer, Holly McKinney and Kenzie Foldes figure to be in the mix along with sophomores Arthofer and Wiedmaier. Bramble will also run distance races. She posted the second-fastest time among returning runners in the 3,000-meters.
“Overall we are really excited about the distance program on our women’s side,” said Dunham.
Central will return its top thrower in the shot put, discus and hammer throw from last season. Sophomore Lorrell Stuht has already set the school record in the indoor weight throw this year. She placed in the top five in the event at the indoor conference championships.
“Lorell Stuht has a decent shot at qualifying for nationals in the weight throw,” said Dunham. “That’s a big goal for her. I think she has done a great job up to this point and she will be a great leader for us this year.”
Junior April McCarthy posted the top score for Central last season in the both the indoor and outdoor shot put as well as the discus.
Returning its top three heptathlon scorers from last season, the multi-events figure to be a strength for the team this season. Drees capped off her successful freshman season with a fourth place finish in the heptathlon at the conference meet. Also back for the Dutch in the multi-events are Koenigs and Gillett.
“The multi-events is an area of emphasis in our program right now,” said Dunham. “The athletes are very healthy and strong.”
The outdoor season begins March 27 in St. Louis at the Washington University (Mo.) Invitational. The Dutch will have two home outdoor meets, hosting the Central Invitational April 2 and a dual with Simpson April 18. The conference meet will be hosted by Simpson in Indianola May 7-9, with the NCAA meet in Canton, N.Y. May 21-23.