Dutch go the distance on day one of California meet
AZUSA, CALIF. — Competing in the two-day Bryan Clay Invitational hosted by Azusa Pacific University, two Central College track & field athletes got started in a pair of long races Thursday.
Mark Fairley (junior, Dubuque) clocked in at 9 minutes, 17.81 seconds in the 3,000-meter steeplechase while Gabi Wilson (senior, Clive, Des Moines Christian HS) finished the 5,000-meter run in 19:10.19
It was the fastest time of the season for Fairley in just his second attempt this spring. Already the school record-holder in the event, he was just a few seconds off the record pace of 9:11.59 set last May.
“It was a good race for Mark,” coach Joe Dunham said. “He is well ahead of where was last year at this time. I’m confident he will accomplish his goals at the end of the season.”
He placed 11th in his heat and 21st overall out of 64 competitors. Daniel Michalski of Division II Cedarville University (Ohio) took the top spot with a time of 8:52.01
Wilson was the 16th runner to cross the line in her heat (No. 7) of the 5,000 meters. In a field of primarily Division I and II athletes, Erica Ruiz of Metro State University (Colo.) was the heat champion in 18:10.34. There was no overall list of finishers.
“While she wasn’t able to run the time we were hoping for, I think she was able to take advantage of the opportunity to run against top-notch competition,” Dunham said. “She competed hard and fought to the end. This experience will pay off when we get to championship season.”
Day two of the meet on Friday will see Wilson and Fairley compete again in the 3,000-meter run and 1,500-meter run, respectively. Hope Heitman (junior, Guttenberg, Clayton Ridge HS) will run the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash. Taylor Donner (junior, Dubuque), Kyle Pape (junior, Dubuque, Wahlert Catholic HS) and Jon Specht (junior, Dubuque, Hempstead HS) will join Fairley in the 1,500 meters as well as running the 800 meters.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Dunham said. “All of our athletes will be competing so it’s another great opportunity and I am confident they will take advantage.”
Another large contingent of Dutch track & field athletes will be at the Jim Duncan Invitational hosted by Drake University.