Mark Fairley-Dubuque-Central
©Dutch Athletics-Dan L. Vander Beek-2017

Iowans Propel Dutch to Nationals

Holly McKinney-I-35-Central ©Jim Kirby 2017

Holly McKinney-I-35-Central
©Jim Kirby 2017

Men

Central College seniors Mark Fairley (Dubuque) and Tanner Rathje (Marion, Linn-Mar HS) weren’t ready for their cross country careers to come to an end Saturday at the NCAA Division III Central Regional.

Courtesy Dutch Athletics, click here! Mark Fairley-Dubuque-Central ©Dutch Athletics-Dan L. Vander Beek-2017

Fairley became the third Dutch runner in the five years to win the regional race. With the win Fairley earns a spot at the NCAA Division III Championship meet. Rathje will join Fairley at the national meet after finishing in 11th place. Fairley finished the 8,000-meter race in 24 minutes, 52.9 seconds. Rathje was just 40 seconds behind Fairley with 25:33.6.

“Today was a good day for our men’s program,” said coach Joe Dunham. “Anytime you have a regional champion it’s a great day but to also have Tanner qualify for nationals was great.”

As a team Central finished ninth in the 29-team meet with 261 points. Loras College won the meet with 53 points and Carleton College (Minn.) was runner-up with 67 points.

Juniors Jordan Toomey (Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) ran a career best 26:30.9 to finish 63rd.

Sophomore Preston Kizer (Dubuque) knocked over a minute off his previous personal record to finish 89th 26:53.3.

Senior Taylor Donner (Dubuque) ran his final race for the Dutch in 26:57.5 just edging junior teammate Kyle Pape (Dubuque, Wahlert HS) for 97th. Pape finished with an identical 26:57.5 just two seconds off his personal best.

Freshman Nathan Sanders (Waukee) placed 124th with 27:35.0.

???????Fairley and Rathje look to continue their momentum Saturday at the national meet in Alton, Ill. Fairley will compete at the national race for the fourth time in his career.

Although the team will not advance, Dunham was pleased with the squad’s effort.

“I was proud of our guys today,” he said. “We’ve battled through injuries all year and I was happy with how our guys performed.”

Women

Central College senior Holly McKinney (Saint Charles, Interstate 35 HS) led the women’s cross country team to a 15th place finish in the 32-team NCAA Division III Central Regional Saturday.

Courtesy Dutch Athletics, click here!

In potentially the senior’s last race, she ran the 6,000-meter course in 22 minutes, 39.7 seconds just a second off her season best.

“Really proud of how Holly ran today,” said coach Joe Dunham. “She’s still waiting to find out whether or not if she will qualify for nationals. If five teams from our region go to nationals, she will go as an individual but regardless I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Carleton College (Minn.) won the regional with 48 points and Nebraska Wesleyan finished runner-up with 103 points while Central tallied 434 points.

Senior Evie Kammeyer (Urbandale) ran a career race in her final collegiate race, finishing in 23:27.9, good for 50th.

Running in her home state, sophomore Lauren Moll (Faribault, Minn.) placed 80th with a career best 24:08 time.

“Lauren ran a really good race today as well,” said Dunham. “She ran a personal best and has us really excited for her to continue to grow during track season.”

Junior Jenna Murray (Grandview, Louisa-Muscatine HS) was fourth for the Dutch finishing with a career best 25:31.8 and placing 138th.

Sophomores Ashley Meldrum (Cambridge, Ballard HS) and Savanna Henning (Ankeny, Centennial HS)also ran their best times in their short careers Saturday. Meldrum ran 25:46.7, placing 145th and Henning ran 25:50.2, finishing 150th.

Freshman Sarah Roberts (Lake in the Hills, Ill., Huntley HS) continued the trend of personal records, placing 165th with a career best 26:23.3.

There’s plenty of optimism for the program with five of its seven regional runners returning next season. Also returning will be junior Rachel Peter (Prairie City, PCM HS), who was Central’s top runner in the 2016 regional but missed most of the 2017 campaign due to injury.

“I’m extremely excited about our women’s program,” said Dunham. “I feel like we are trending in the right direction and will continue to work to improve.”