Central rallies for men’s track and field league title
DUBUQUE—Central College won three events Sunday and capped a furious second-day effort culminating in their third indoor men’s track and field championship in four years. The women’s squad won two events and finished third.
The Dutch men held a narrow four-point margin over Wartburg heading into the meet’s final event, the 4×400-meter relay. The two squads traded the lead over the first three legs before senior captain Phil Heisterkamp (Jefferson, Jefferson-Scranton HS) took the baton in second. Heisterkamp then held off a frantic charge by a Loras squad anchored by the league 400-meter champion to secure the team title for the Dutch.
Central totaled 186 points on the weekend to take the win over Wartburg with 184. Host Dubuque had 107, followed by Loras (86), Simpson (80), Luther (42), Buena Vista (35), and Coe (19).
“This was one of my proudest days at Central,” said coach Joe Dunham. “I am so happy for all the guys. They’ve worked hard for this moment.”
Dunham was later named the Men’s Coach of the Year.
Dutch men dominate hurdles—After a pair of runner-up finishes Saturday, Eric Larson (sophomore, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) broke through in the 55 hurdles finals, winning the event in 7.69 seconds. Freshman teammate Dan Roemerman (Iowa City, City HS) was close behind in second (7.7) and Drake Hickok (freshman, Cedar Rapids, Washington HS) was fourth (7.84).
“It was a breakthrough day for the men’s hurdlers,” said Dunham. “They all ran big personal bests on a big stage.”
Eli Horton (sophomore, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) and Drew Jackson (sophomore, Johnston) posted a 1-2 finish in the Mile run with times of 4:16.11 and 4:16.86 respectively while Kyle Nuehring (freshman, Waukee) crossed the line in fourth (4:21.01). Horton and Jackson came back in the 3,000 meters with second (8:43.96) and third-place (8:45.22) finishes. Cole Decker (freshman, Des Moines, West Des Moines Dowling HS) was fifth (8:46.89).
Logan Danko (senior, Centerville) captured the 200-meters with a mark of 22.41 while Mason Zimmerman (sophomore, Urbandale) was seventh (23.08). Nick Barnes (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) took sixth in the 800 meters (1:59.03) and teamed up with Justin Burns (sophomore, Cedar Rapids, Prairie HS), Riley Wattier (freshman, Waukee), and Ben Schornack (senior, Urbandale) to take fourth in the 4×800 relay in a school-record time of 7:57.59. Heisterkamp was joined by Austin Roberts (freshman, Bloomfield, Davis County HS), Tyler Westphal (senior, Le Mars), and Hickok for their runner-up finish in the 4×400 relay (3:24.96).
Off the track, Larson capped his 34-point two-day effort with a second-place finish in the high jump (6-7). Josh Fleming (senior, Caseyville, Ill., Collinsville HS) earned all-conference honors with a third-place finish in the weight throw (53-3.75) with Steve Messerschmidt (junior, Neola, Tri-Center HS) right behind in fourth (52-2.5). Miles Barton (sophomore, Cedar Rapids, Washington HS) was sixth in the triple jump (42-3.5). Conner Freeman (sophomore, Urbandale) took runner-up honors in the heptathlon (4,462 points), with Aaron Fuller (senior, Aberdeen, S.D., Roncalli HS) placing fourth (4,252) and Jaemin Powell (freshman, Wellman, Mid-Prairie HS) finishing seventh (4,073).
“It was a true team effort for the men today,” said Dunham. “We found points in a lot of different places and we needed every one of them.”
Record-setting day for Coleman—Standout Felicia Coleman (senior, Houston, Texas, J. Frank Dobie HS) continued her stellar indoor campaign Sunday, collecting victories in the 55-meters (7.17) and the 200 meters (24.92). Her 200-meter mark cracked the previous conference record as well as her own school record. Coleman was later named the Outstanding Women’s Track Events Athlete of the Meet.
“This is a very special season for Felicia,” said Dunham. “It’s all a testament to her hard work and determination.”
Mel McDermott (senior, Britt, West Hancock HS) crossed the line second in the 3,000 meters (10:52.14), with teammates Alyssa Eaves (sophomore, Johnston) and Gabi Wilson (freshman, Clive, Des Moines Christian HS) placing seventh (11:15.34) and eighth (11:15.41) respectively. Elin Phipps (freshman, Boone) raced to third in the 800 meters (2:19.96) with Sarah Mueller (sophomore, Urbandale) placing sixth (2:24.38). Melanie Nielsen (freshman, Atlantic) was fifth in the 400 meters (1:00.76) while Camie Kibbee (sophomore, Mason City) was seventh (1:01.02). Amanda Dunkin (junior, Pella) was seventh in the Mile (5:31.89) and McKenna Zimmerman (sophomore, Urbandale) took sixth in the 55 hurdles (8.74).
Both Central women’s relays earned all-conference honors on Sunday. The foursome of Molly Bramble (freshman, Waukee), Emily Saville (sophomore), Mueller and Phipps placed third in the 4×800 relay (9:44.18) en route to a new school record, while Nielsen, Kibbee, Coleman, and Taylor Beckman (sophomore, Panora, Panorama HS) took second in the 4×400 relay (4:00.18).
Off the track, Jess Fevold (senior, Webster City) finished third in the weight throw (48-8) and April McCarthy (freshman, Stoughton, Wis.) rode a big personal best to a sixth-place finish (44-0.5). Hillary Hotz (sophomore, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS) took seventh in the high jump (5-0.5).
“It’s always fun to see how young athletes develop at these big meets,” said Dunham. “We had a lot of underclassmen step up today for the women. This squad has some big things in front of them.”
Central’s women racked up 108 points to place third in the team standings. Wartburg won the title with 262 points with Luther taking runner-up honors with 127. Loras was fourth (95), followed by Buena Vista (40), Coe (38.5), Dubuque (38.5), and Simpson (31).
“We only had a couple of wins, but overall the coaching staff was happy with how the women finished,” said Dunham. “We were able to get at least a few points in almost every event and that is a mark of well-rounded team.”
With the conference meet in the books, the Dutch will now turn their attention to the NCAA Division III championships March 8-9 in Naperville, Ill. Central will take a limited squad to the Point Last Chance Meet in Stevens Point, Wis. Friday for one more attempt at national qualifying marks.
“We’re excited to see what we can do next week,” said Dunham. “We have a few people that we are confident will get in, but I think we can get more.”