Cole Decker-Dowling-Central
©Jim Kirby

Dutch Hold Lead Entering Final Day of Conference

Eric Larson-Waverly Shellrock-Centra ©Jim Kirby

Eric Larson-Waverly Shellrock-Centra
©Jim Kirby

The Central College men’s track and field team holds a 19-point lead after the second day of the Iowa Conference Outdoor Championships in Indianola.

The Dutch women are in second place with 56.75 points, 10.25 out of first.

Courtesy Dutch Athletics

“Today was maybe the best first day that these two teams have had at the conference meet,” said coach Joe Dunham. “I couldn’t be more proud of their competitiveness.”

Central men win three events—Led by a one-two finish in the 10,000 meters the Dutch men scored 80 points to take the lead with one day to go. Cole Decker (junior, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) took the 10,000-meter title, finishing the race in 30 minutes, 56.68 seconds. Teammate Isaac Steffensmeier (sophomore, Fort Madison) placed second in the event in 31:24.15.

Central earned another event win in the 4×800-meter relay. The squad of Mark Fairley (freshman, Dubuque), Jamie Vander Veer (senior, Harvey, Knoxville HS), Eli Horton (senior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) and Drew Jackson (senior, Johnston) edged out Wartburg by seven one-hundredths of a second for first place (7:40.76).

Also on the track Dan Roemerman (junior, Iowa City) qualified for the finals with the top prelim time in the 110-meter hurdles (14.63) and Jackson finished fifth in the 800-meter run prelims (1:55.05).

In the field events Eric Larson (senior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) won the long jump (22 feet, 10 inches) and teammate Justin Wimbish (freshman, Glendale, Ariz., Apollo HS) took third (21-11.75). The Dutch took two of the top four spots in the high jump. Conner Freeman (senior, Urbandale) was third (6-7.5) and Logan Mulford (sophomore, Mount Pleasant) was fourth (5-7.5).

The second half of the decathlon also took place Friday. Ryan Kruse (freshman, St. Clair, Minn.) finished fourth (5,752 points) and Reese Iversen (freshman, Grimes, Dallas Center-Grimes HS) sixth (5,558).

“There were so many great performances today,” said Dunham. “It’s hard to even pick out a few because what we are doing this weekend is so much more than individual performances.”

Dutch women win two field events—On the women’s side Central had the top two finishers in the long jump and won the hammer throw. Ashlee Downs (junior, Urbandale, Valley HS) took the title in the long jump (17-6.75) with Taylor Beckman (senior, Panora, Panorama HS) earning second place (17-6.75).

In the hammer throw Lorell Stuht (sophomore, Loveland, Colo.) won the event by almost three feet with a toss of 160-10.

Central also had a top three finish in the high jump, where Hillary Hotz (senior, Fort Dodge, Saint Edmond HS) took third (5-2.5).

On the track Allie McBroom (senior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) posted the top qualifying time in the 400-meter dash prelims (57.25). Also running a top qualifying time was Abi Davis (junior, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) in the 200-meter dash prelims (24.96). Davis took second in the 100-meter dash prelims (12.09) as well.

“We had a lot of athletes qualify for the finals tomorrow and that is always a good sign,” said Dunham. “We have a lot of work to do tomorrow and each event will be a hard fought battle.”

The heptathlon concluded Friday with three Dutch athletes in the top six. Morgan Koenigs (sophomore, Mapleton, Maple Valley, Anthon-Oto HS) finished third (4,202 points), Emma Drees (sophomore, Waukee) fifth (3,949) and Kaitlyn Gillett (senior, Cedar Falls) sixth (3,589).

Dylan Kalinay-S. Tama-Simpson
©Jim Kirby

Simpson Feeling Comfortable at Home for Conference

 Bayley Fleshner-W. Fork-Simpson ©Jim Kirby

Bayley Fleshner-W. Fork-Simpson
©Jim Kirby

Bayley Fleshner took home all-conference accolades in the long jump and put herself in position to do the same in the 100-meter hurdles, Isaac Frazier made all-conference in the high jump and Dylan Kalinay qualified for finals in three events to lead the Simpson track and field team on the second day of the Iowa Conference Championships at Buxton Stadium.

Courtesy Storm Athletics

The women’s team is in sixth place through seven completed events while the men are in seventh. The Championships conclude Saturday with field events getting underway at 10 a.m. and running events starting at 1 p.m.

Fleshner took home her first all-conference honor in the long jump, placing third with a leap of 16-feet, 8 1/2 inches, her best since 2013. On top of her effort in the long jump, she posted the top qualifying time in the 100-meter hurdles, breaking the tape in a season-best 14.53 seconds.

Sarah Galbraith came in seventh in the high jump (4-10 1/2), Briana McCloskey took seventh in the 10,000 meters (40:42.41) and Hannah Moulds earned a team point with an eighth-place finish in the long jump (16-00 1/2). The 4×800-meter relay team of Galbraith, Jessica Gronke, Courtney Neuendorf and Lesley Roquet came in fifth (9:45.87).

Lauren Martin and Sarah Ney qualified for finals in the 100 meters and Ney also qualified in the 200.

After a seventh-place finish in the indoor high jump this winter, Frazier took home his first all-Iowa Conference honor by taking second, clearing 6-7 1/2. The top four competitors went out at that height, but Dubuque’s DuVaun Goodlow won based on fewest misses. Frazier had only one miss going into the height, putting him ahead of Central’s Connor Freeman and Logan Mulford.

The freshman Kalinay set the table for what could be a productive final day of the championships by posting top-five qualifying times in the 100, 200 and 100 hurdles. The speedster tied or set season-bests in each event, coming in second in both the 100 (10.98) and 100 hurdles (14.74) and fifth in the 200 (22.09).

Triston Twedt and Trevor McKee will compete in Saturday’s 400-meter hurdle finals and the 4×800 relay quartet of Brice Sheeder, Cody Alexander, Matt Pearson and Miles Kirts came in seventh (8:04.78).

Women’s Finalists

100 – 4. Lauren Martin, 12.43; 8. Sarah Ney, 12.63
200 – 5. Sarah Ney (25.57)
100 hurdles – 1. Bayley Fleshner, 14.53

Women’s Team Scores

1. Wartburg, 67; 2. Central, 56.75; 3. Luther, 51.75; 4. Dubuque, 37.75; 5. Loras, 30; 6. Simpson, 13.75; 7. Buena Vista, 9; 8. Coe, 6

Men’s Finalists

100 – 2. Dylan Kalinay, 10.98
200 – 5. Daylan Kalinay, 22.09
110 hurdles – 2. Dylan Kalinay, 14.74
400 hurdles – 5. Triston Twedt, 55.76; 8. Trevor McKee, 56.48

Men’s Team Scores

1. Central, 80; 2. Wartburg, 61; 3. Dubuque, 33; 4. Loras, 32; 5. Coe, 31; 6. Luther, 17; 7. Simpson, 10; 8. Buena Vista, 9

Aaron Mallett-Iowa
©Jim Kirby

Hawks Sparkle at Musco

Aaron Mallett-Iowa ©Jim Kirby

Aaron Mallett-Iowa
©Jim Kirby

The University of Iowa track and field team captured seven titles and recorded 12 personal bests at the 16th annual Musco Twilight on Saturday at the Francis X. Cretzmeyer track.
Jahisha Thomas opened the day for the Hawkeyes with a first-place finish in the women’s long jump. The freshman recorded a collegiate-best leap of 20-02.25 (6.15m), a mark that ranks fourth all-time at Iowa and would tie for first in the Big Ten.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics

“It definitely felt like my best jump of the season,” Thomas said. “That was the mark, and that’s what I need to be doing. I definitely feel like it can get better because I’m there now. I know I can get to where I need to be.”

Also competing in the women’s long jump was junior Kassidy Ellis, who recorded a personal best 19-06 (5.95m) to finish fifth, respectively. That mark ties for seventh in school history and would land sixth in the Big Ten.

Iowa nabbed the top two spots in the men’s triple jump. Junior Klyvens Delaunay (51-11.25, 15.83m) took the title, while senior Babatunde Amosu (50-10.75, 15.51m) finished runner-up, respectively. Delaunay’s mark would top conference rankings, while Amosu’s would stand fifth, respectively.

“We moved some athletes into the top of the Big Ten,” said UI director of track and field Joey Woody. “The triple jumpers really showed up today. Klyvens had a great meet. I was really happy to see him back and doing some great things.”

Sophomores Vinnie Saucer, Jr. and Aaron Mallett, junior James Harrington, and senior Keith Brown made noise in the men’s 400-meter relay when the quartet clocked the fourth-fastest time in school history at 39.66 to take the title. That time would also stand second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally.

Mallett captured his second title of the day in the 110-meter hurdles en route to setting a new meet record in 13.69. He went on to claim third in the 400-meter hurdles in a personal best 51.41. Junior Mitch Wolff took second in the event with a collegiate best 51.26. Their times would stand sixth and seventh in the conference.

“It’s always good to win head-to-head, especially at home,” Mallett said. “It was my second best time ever, so I’m happy with that. For the 4×1, we’ve been having some troubles throughout the season, but we put together a good time and we won.”

Brittany Brown added another first-place finish on the day for Iowa in the women’s 100 meters. The sophomore crossed the finish in a career best 11.47, which moves her to third on Iowa’s all-time list and would stand second in the Big Ten behind junior Lake Kwaza (11.40). Saucer notched a second-place finish in the men’s contest with a career best 10.41. That time would tie for first in the Big Ten and ninth in school history.

Kwaza took the women’s 200-meter title in 23.60, while Saucer finished third in the men’s race with a career best 21.02.

“It felt good,” Brown said. “I have been working on getting out better and that’s what I’m doing. I got out and I finished strong. It was a good race.”

Senior Ben Witt cracked Iowa’s all-time list in the men’s 1,500 meters when he clocked the ninth-fastest time in program history at 3:49.45 to finish second. Sophomore Alana Jones took the silver in the women’s race when she crossed the 1,500-meter mark in a collegiate best 4:30.56.

In the women’s 800 meters, sophomore Katharina Trost climbed to fourth on Iowa’s all-time list when she closed in a collegiate best 2:07.09 to finish second overall. That time would rank seventh in the Big Ten.

The Hawkeyes received a pair of second-place finishes from senior Annemie Smith (196-05.25, 59.87m) in the women’s hammer throw and senior Gabe Hull in the men’s discus (184-06, 56.23m). Freshman Reno Tuufuli threw 182-9.5 (55.71m) on his final attempt to set a personal best and qualify for the U.S. Junior Nationals.

Junior MonTayla Holder led Iowa in the women’s 400 meters when she clocked a personal best 54.83 for third place, while senior Brennan Davey finished fourth in the men’s race with a season best 47.72.

Iowa closed the meet on a high note when the 1,600-meter relay of freshmen Carter Lilly and Nicholas Aly, Davey, and sophomore Jared Ganschow edged out Minnesota (3:10.88) for the win in 3:10.66.

“I’m most impressed with how we competed against other teams in the Big Ten,” Woody said. “We won some critical head-to-head competitions. I am excited to see our athletes come out at the Big Ten Championships and compete like they did today.”

The Big Ten Championships are held from May 15-17 in East Lansing, Michigan.

Molly Bramble-Waukee-Central & Elin Phipps-Boone-Central
©Jim Kirby

Dutch Women Claim Six Titles at Monmouth

Abi Davis-Dowling-Central ©Jim Kirby

Abi Davis-Dowling-Central
©Jim Kirby

The Central College women’s track and field team won six events and the team title at the Monmouth (Ill.) Fighting Scots Invitational Saturday.

The Dutch scored 179 points to best Monmouth by 58 points. Iowa Conference rival Wartburg took third with 118.

The Central men won three events to finish second with 158 points, just 11 points back of host Monmouth. Wartburg was a distant third with 111 points.

“Overall I was pleased with the performance of both teams today,” said coach Joe Dunham. “It was a great tune-up before the conference meet.”

Sprinters lead Central women—The Dutch women dominated the sprinting events Saturday, winning the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 4×100-meter relay. In the 100 it was Abi Davis (junior, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) taking first in 11.95 seconds. Her time is tied for fifth in Division III this season.

In the 200 it was Allie McBroom (senior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) winning in 25.47. Then in the 4×100 relay the Dutch squad of Davis, McBroom, Meredith Zimmerman (senior, Urbandale) and Kate Patton (freshman, Grand River, Murray HS) sprinted to the title in 47.80. The time ranks 11th in Division III and is less than four-tenths of a second off of the school record.

“The women’s 4×100 ran a season best and put themselves on the bubble for nationals,” said Dunham. “They accomplished this even with some bad handoffs, so we know there is more there, which is exciting.”

Three other winners for the Dutch Saturday were Zimmerman in the 100-meter hurdles (14.74), Hillary Hotz (senior, Fort Dodge, Saint Edmond HS) in the high jump (5 feet, 4.25 inches) and Holly McKinney (freshman, Saint Charles, Interstate 35 HS) in the 1,500 meters (4:50.91).

In the hammer throw Lorell Stuht (sophomore, Loveland, Colo.) placed third with a personal best toss of 160-1. Dunham liked what he saw out of both teams in the hammer throw Saturday.

“I felt like we had a great day with the throwers,” said Dunham. “Seven throwers set a personal best in the hammer today.”

Central men win three events—The Dutch had the top two finishers, and six of the top eight in the 1,500-meter run. Eli Horton (senior, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) won the event in 3:55.14, just one one-hundredth of a second ahead of teammate Drew Jackson (senior, Johnston) (3:55.15). Also in the top five in the event was Mark Fairley (freshman, Dubuque) in fourth (4:02.01) and Jamie Vander Veer (senior, Harvey, Knoxville HS) in fifth (4:06.01).

Another winner for Central was Dan Roemerman (junior, Iowa City) in the 110-meter hurdles. His time of 14.70 was almost a second faster than the runner-up.

A third winner for the Dutch was Logan Mulford (sophomore, Mount Pleasant) in the high jump (6-7.5).

Dunham was pleased with the performance of Grady Carson (senior, Centerville) Saturday. He placed 13th in the 100-meter dash (11.43) and 16th in the 200-meter dash (23.18).

“Grady Carson had personal bests in the 100 and the 200,” said Dunham. “He is running with a lot of confidence.”

The Dutch will compete at the Iowa Conference Championships in Indianola Thursday through Saturday. The men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon will begin Thursday with other events following the next two days.

Katy Moen-Wappsie Valley-ISU
©Jim Kirby

Moen Leads Cyclones in Weekend of PR’s

Evelyne Guay-ISU ©Jim Kirby

Evelyne Guay-ISU
©Jim Kirby

14 different Iowa State track and field athletes set personal-best marks in their respective events including a new school record Saturday at the Musco Twilight XVI in Iowa City, Iowa, and the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, California.

The Iowa State school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase exchanged hands for the third time on the season, as Abby Caldwell crossed the finish line in a time of 10:19.21 at the Payton Jordan Invitational. Caldwell broke the school record earlier on the year at the Stanford Invitational, only to have Colleen Riley better her time at the Drake Relays with a mark of 10:25.83.

Courtesy Cyclone Athletics

Four of ISU’s five 1,500-meter runners notched personal records in the event on the Cobb Track in Palo Alto, California, including Toby Hardwick (3:48.47), Perez Rotich (4:25.01),

(4:26.17) and Brian Biekert (3:44.35).

Senior All-American Edward Kemboi finished fifth in the second heat of the 800-meter run that featured several professional runners and the current NCAA 800-meter run leader. The Eldoret, Kenya native’s time of 1:46.17 is a season-best and ranks fourth nationally.

Katy Moen closed out the meet strong for the Cyclones finishing the 10,000-meter run in a personal-best time of 33:09.63. The senior’s time is the seventh-fastest collegiate time run this season and the sixth-fastest in the Iowa State All-Time Top Performance list. Moen was the first collegiate runner to cross the finish line in her heat, composed of numerous professional athletes.

In Iowa City, Anna Holtermann hurdled a personal record 195’ 11.75” (59.73m) in the hammer throw to finish in third-place. Holtermann’s toss ranks her third on Iowa State’s all-time top-performers list and bettered her previous PR by over 15 feet.

The Cyclones continued their dominance of field events, as Christina Hillman claimed first-place in shot put with a toss of 53’ 9” (16.38m), a top-20 national mark on the 2015 outdoor season. Freshman Jhoanmy Luque, the No. 18 ranked triple jumper in the nation, claimed a second-place finish with a mark of 41’ 4.25” (12.60m).

Kendra White recorded a career day at the Musco Twilight, tackling two personal record times in the 200 and 400-meter dashes with marks of 24.03 and 53.43, respectively. The St. Louis, Missouri-native now ranks inside of the top-five on Iowa State’s all-time top-performers list in each event.

Kaci Storm joined White in Iowa City for a standout performance of her own, taking first-place in the 100-meter hurdles in a personal record time of 14.32. Alyssa Gonzalez also claimed an event title with a sub-one-minute effort in the 400-meter hurdles in a personal record time of 59.54.

On Deck
Up next for the Cyclones is the 2015 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Cyclones Sports Complex in Ames, Iowa on May 15-17. This will mark the first time Iowa State has hosted a Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship and the first time ISU has hosted an outdoor conference championship since the 1995 Big Eight Outdoor Championships.

Iowa State All-American Edward Kemboi will be in search of his third outdoor and seventh overall Big 12 championship, while Cameron Ostrowski, Katy Moen and Christina Hillman look to add to their conference championship collection as well.

The Big 12 currently claims seven women’s and four men’s track and field programs inside of the USTFCCCA top-25 national rankings.

Cyclones PRs
*Kendra White (200m): 24.03
*Kendra White (400m): 53.43
* Jacob Aune (800m): 1:51.37
*Nathan Rodriguez (800m): 1:51.64
*Toby Hardwick (1,500m): 3:48.47
*Perez Rotich (1,500m): 4:25.01
*Evelyne Guay (1,500m): 4:26.17
*Brian Biekert (1,500m): 3:44.35
*Abby Caldwell (3,000m SC): 10:19.21
*Kaci Storm (110mH): 14.32
*Alyssa Gonzalez (400mH): 59.54
*Kaci Storm (400mH): 1:04.98
*Anna Holtermann (Hammer): 195’ 11.75” (59.73m)
*Taylor Sanderson (Discus): 149’ 6.75” (45.58m)
*Katy Moen (10,000m) 33:09.63

Payton Jordan Invitational Results
3,000m SC (W): 1) Regan Ward, Arkansas, 10:13.29; 4) Abby Caldwell, Iowa State, 10:19.21 (Section 3)
800m (M): 1) Brennan Munley, Michigan, 1:50.45; 4) Jacob Aune, Iowa State, 1:51.37 (Section 5)
1,5000m (W): 1) Laura Addison, Michgan, 4:19.95; 5) Evelyne Guay, Iowa State, 4:26.17; 8) Katherine DeSimone, Iowa State, 4:31.76 (Section 7)
1,500m (M): 1) Toby Hardwick, Iowa State, 3:48.47 (Section 7)
1,500m (W): 1) McKayla Fricker, Unattached, 4:19.60; 7) Perez Rotich, Iowa State, 4:25.01 (Section 6)
1,500m (M): 1) Mike Tate, Southern Utah, 3:42.72; 8) Brian Biekert, Iowa State, 3:44.35 (Section 5)
800m (M): 1) Joe McAsey, Illinois, 1:47.91; 2)Patrick Peterson, Iowa State, 1:48.14
800m (M): 1) Boris Berian, Big Bear TC, 1:45.30; 5) Ed Kemboi, Iowa State, 1:46.17
5,000m (M): 1) Thomas Curtin, Virginia Tech, 13:44.03; 18) Brian Llamas, Iowa State, 14:04.53
10,000m (W): 1) Santa Ines Melchor Huiza, Federacion Peruana, 31:56.62; Katy Moen, Iowa State, 33:09.63 (Section 2)

Musco Twilight Results
Discus (W): 1) Agnes Esser, Minnesota, 178’ 5.25” (54.38m); 7) Christina Hillman, Iowa State, 159’ 1.75” (48.50m)
Hammer (M): 1) Davis Faker, Illinois, 224’ 5.50” (68.41m); 8) Henry Kelley, Iowa State, 186’ 8.75” (56.91m)
Hammer (W): 1) Devin Stanford, Minnestoa, 202’ 10.25” (61.82m); 3) Anna Holtermann, Iowa State, 195’ 11.75” (59.73m); 12) Kayla Sanborn, Iowa State, 161’ 10.50” (49.31m)
400m (M): 1) Jordan Guske, Northern Iowa, 49.86; 2) Jacob Hoogensen, Iowa State, 50.43 (Section 3)
4x100m (M): 1) Iowa, 39.66; 4) Iowa State, 41.60
Discus (M): 1) Taylor Sanderson, Iowa State, 149’ 6.75” (45.58m)
High Jump (M): 1) James White, Nebraska, 7’ 2.25” (2.19m); 8) Jalen Ford, Iowa State, 6’ 5” (1.96m)
High Jump (W): 1) Reka Czuth, Nebraska, 5’10” (1.78m); 5) Hannah Willms, Iowa State, 5’6” (1.68); 6) Katie Reeves, Iowa State, 5’4.25” (1.63)
Shot Put (W): 1) Christina Hillman, Iowa State, 53’ 9” (16.38m)
100mH (W): 1) Kaci Storm, Iowa State, 14.32
110mH (M): 1) Aaron Mallett, Iowa, 13.69; 6) Logan Schneider, Iowa State, 14.46; 9) Taylor Sanderson, Iowa State, 14.66
400m (W): 1) Kendra White, Iowa State, 53.43
Triple Jump (W): 1) Ellie Ewere, Nebraska, 42’ 1.25” (12.83m); 2) Jhoanmy Luque, Iowa State, 41’ 4.25” (12.60m)
800m (W): 1) Bethany Praska, Unattached, 2:05.19; 11) Madison Nagle, Iowa State, 2:13.97; 15) Maryn Lowry, Iowa State, 2:15.12
800m (M): 1) Daniel Bonthius, Wartburg, 1:50.99; 4) Nathan Rodriguez, Iowa State, 1:51.64; Matt Bevil, Iowa State, 1:52.35; Brandon Wheat, Iowa State, 1:52.71
400mH (W): 1) Alyssa Gonzalez, Iowa State, 59.54; 7) Kaci Storm, Iowa State, 1:04.98
400mH (M): 1) Eric Lund, Unattached, 51.03; 9) Kris Brander, Iowa State, 53.73; 12) Trey Achteroff, Iowa State, 55.20
200m (W): 1) Lake Kwaza, Iowa, 23.60; 3) Kendra White, Iowa State, 24.03
200m (M): 1) DJ Zahn, Illinois, 20.53; 12) Mark Sitek, Iowa State, 21.94; 16) Logan Schneider, Iowa State, 22.44; 21) Jacob Hoogensen, Iowa State, 23.27
Shot Put (M): 1) Will Lohman, Nebraska, 60’ 1.25”, (18.32); 3) Jan Jeuschede, Iowa State, 58’ 5.25” (17.81); 17) Taylor Sanderson, Iowa State, 40’ 8.75” (12.41)
1,500m (M): 1) Russell Sandvold, Wisconsin, 3:48.98; 15) Matthew Whitlach, Iowa State, 4:04.44
1,500m (W): 1) Haley Johnson, Minnesota, 4:30.20; 9) Riley Colleen, Iowa State, 4:37.55; 13) Julie Wiemerslage, Iowa State, 4:43.68
3,000m (M): 1) Obsa Ali, Unattached, 8:17.79; 8) Nolan McKenna, Unattached-Iowa State, 8:29.43

Alex Wilson-Mt Vernon Lisbon
©Jim Kirby

Panthers Set Personal Bests at Musco

Brandon Carnes-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Brandon Carnes-UNI
©Jim Kirby

The University of Northern Iowa track and field team participated in the Musco Twilight tonight, coming away with two school records and multiple personal-bests to cap off a successful meet.

Libby Torresani kicked things off for the Panthers in the pole vault, breaking her own school record in the event. The senior finished with a height of 13-3.75 to place second, beating her previous personal-best of 13-3.50 that she set last season.

Courtesy Panther Athletics

Records continued to fall for the Panthers in the men’s 200 meter dash with Brandon Carnes set a huge career-best in the race. The sophomore came away with a time of 20.70 for the new record and to launch him into the top-10 in the NCAA West Region.

Carnes’ success stayed through the 100 meter dash with another PR. Carnes finished with a time of 10.25, the second fastest time in school history and the 13th fastest in the West Region.

“We had quite a few outstanding performances today,” head coach Dan Steele said. “Carnes in particular showed today that he is one of the best combination sprinters in the country.”

Jon Rus and Steven Addison both finished in the top-10 in the 110 meter hurdles, with Addison winning his heat. Rus grabbed a personal-best time of 14.37 while Addison grabbed a PR of 14.58.

The UNI women had two top-five finishers in the 100 meter hurdles, with Christine MacNeil turning in a season-best time of 14.09 to place second. Rachel Peth came in a close third place overall with a strong time of 14.15.

Continuing the success in the hurdles was Jennifer Roberts notching personal-best in the 400 meter hurdles for the third time this season. She came in fourth overall with a time of 1:01.57.

Alex Wilson continued to shine in the middle distance events, turning in a personal-best in the 800 meter run. Her time of 2:07.58 is the second fastest time in the Missouri Valley Conference this season and ranks her second all-time at UNI.

Wilson wasn’t the only Panther to turn in a solid performance in the women’s 800 meters. Sophomore Brette Correy placed fifth overall with a new PR time of 2:09.42 and is now ranked fourth all-time at UNI.

In the 4X100 meter relay, the men’s team of Carnes, Brett McCalla, Derek Jacobus and Cam Brown finished third overall. The grabbed a season-best time of 40.84 to keep them ranked second in the MVC.

Jamie Lindstrom scored a huge career-best mark in the women’s hammer throw, going for a distance of 186-8.00. The throw was the third-best in school history, beating her previous personal-best of 179-8.00 earlier this season. The junior also turned in a personal-best in the discus of 151-6.50 to put her at No. 5 all-time at UNI, making it the seventh PR from the UNI throwers today.

The Panthers will return to action Friday, May 8 when they compete in the Wisconsin Twilight, UNI’s final regular season meet before the MVC Outdoor Championships.

Erin Hawkins-DM Roosevelt-Minnesota
©Jim Kirby

Hawkins Leads Gophers at Musco

Erin Hawkins-DM Roosevelt-Minnesota ©Jim Kirby

Erin Hawkins-DM Roosevelt-Minnesota
©Jim Kirby

The Minnesota women’s track & field team won six event titles and earned 18 career-best marks as the Golden Gophers competed at Iowa’s Musco Twilight meet Saturday evening.

The Gophers won both the 4×100-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay crowns. The 4x400m team of Jessica Waldvogel, Emerald Egwim, Erin Hawkins and Titania Markland finished in 3:36.89, their best of the season and the second fastest time in program history. Meanwhile, the 4x100m team of Egwim, Emma Spagnola, Waldvogel and Hawkins won in 45.72 seconds.

Courtesy Gopher Athletics

Minnesota won three titles and earned seven career bests in the throwing events led by Agnes Esser, who had three career-best throws and a first-place finish in the discus. Esser won the discus with a career-best throw of 54.38m (178-05.25) and placed fifth in both the hammer (58.40m, 191-07.50) and the shot put (14.35m, 47-01).

Devin Stanford took home the title in the hammer throw with a career-best throw of 61.82m (202-10.25) to improve her Minnesota program record. Ke-ke Burks finished fourth with a personal best throw of 58.62m (192-04.25), and she and Esser moved into sixth and seventh in program history, respectively. Angie Guenther also picked up a career-best mark in the hammer at 56.50m (185-04.75).

Nicolle Murphy won the javelin with a season-best throw of 50.03m (164-1), while Rachel Melum took second with a career-best throw of 46.68m (153-2).

The Gophers also took home the title in the 1,500-meter run as Haley Johnson won in a career-best 4:30.20. Fellow Gophers Becca Dyson (season-best 4:31.40), Jamie Piepenburg (career-best 4:32.72), Taylor Mikkalson (career-best 4:38.82) and Madeline Strandemo (career-best 4:41.39) all set milestones and finished in the top 11 as well.

Ally McSherry shattered her career best in the 800-meter run with a third-place time of 2:07.42, taking over four seconds off her previous season-best time. McSherry moved into seventh in program history and led a charge of five Gophers in the 800m. Anne Ferguson (2:10.39) and Stacey Swatek (2:10.55) also recorded career bests in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

The sprints included a career-best for Erin Hawkins in the 100-meter dash, clocking an 11.63 to take third place at the Musco Twilight and improve on her all-time fifth-place ranking in Minnesota history.

In the 400-meter dash, Markland recorded a runner-up showing in 53.86 seconds, and Lauren Domski (56.43) and Kat Keller (56.70) both recorded career-best times for fifth and seventh place, respectively.

The 100-meter hurdles saw Amanda Beckman record a career-best time of 15.23 seconds for fifth place, and Spagnola was the runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles at 1:00.64.

Minnesota also competed at Hamline’s Meet of the Un-Saintly on Saturday, highlighted by Katie Murgic’s career-best mark in the pole vault. Murgic cleared 4.15m (13-07.25) to move into sole possession of fourth place among all-time Gopher pole vaulters.

Next weekend, members of the team will compete at the UW-La Crosse Eagle Open on Friday, May 8, and the Gophers will prepare for the Big Ten Championship the following weekend.

Jayvon Matthews-Davenport Central-UNI
©Jim Kirby

Panthers Set to Shine at Musco

Jerek Jacobus-Davenport Central-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Jerek Jacobus-Davenport Central-UNI
©Jim Kirby

The University of Northern Iowa track and field team is set to compete in the Musco Twilight on Saturday, May 2 in, hosted by Iowa.

The Panthers will be one of seven teams competing in the meet that includes the Illinois men’s team, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Musco Twilight is one of two meets UNI will participate in prior to the MVC Outdoor Championships starting on May 15.

Courtesy Panthers Athletics

This will be UNI’s second consecutive meet in the state of Iowa after coming off of a successful trip to Des Moines for the 106th annual Drake Relays.

The multis competition kicked off the Drake Relays for the Panthers, with all four athletes gaining personal-best point totals. In the decathlon, both true freshmen Derek Jacobus and Jayvon Matthews are ranked in the top-five in the MVC while in the heptathlon, Rachel Peth holds the No. 3 ranking in the conference and Chaley Rath sits in fourth place.

In the individual competitions, UNI had two athletes qualify for the finals with Brandon Carnes and Sebastian Barth both shining for the men’s team. Barth placed finished sixth overall in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.01 while Carnes finished in fourth in the 100 meter dash with a fast time of 10.49 to keep him at the top of the conference.

Highlighting the meet was senior Alex Wilson breaking the school record in the 1,500 meter run for the second time in the month of April and the third time in her career. She finished with a PR time of 4:20.49, which is the fastest time in the conference by over seven seconds. She also earned the MVC Leadership & Service Award for her continued success on and off the track.

The men’s 4X100 meter relay team posted the second fastest time in the MVC this season against some of the best competition in the country, earning a season-best time. The team of Cam Brown, Brett McCalla, Jordan Guske and Brandon Carnes notched a time of 40.97.

On the final day of the meet, both the shuttle hurdle relay teams put in solid performances. The women’s team of Christine MacNeill, Jennifer Roberts, Rath and Peth opened the day with a time of 58.63 in the 4X100 shuttle hurdles to qualify for the finals. They ended up besting their time from the preliminary race, running a team time of 57.90 to place fourth overall and rank No. 3 all-time at UNI.

On the men’s side, the team of Barth, Matthews, Jon Rus and Daurice Fountain grabbed the second fastest time in the preliminaries. The 4X110 shuttle hurdle relay team finished with a time of 58.23, the fifth fastest time in UNI history.

Luther Women
©Norse Athletics

Good Showing For Norse at Wartburg

Luther Women ©Norse Athletics

Luther Women
©Norse Athletics

Norse Women

It was a beautiful afternoon in Carlson Stadium as Luther hosted the annual dual with the Knights of Wartburg College. Wartburg won the event 105-86.

Individual highlights for the Norse included four top-three finishes by Anna Burke. Burke won the long jump with a mark of 17-4 3/4 that ranks tied for seventh all-time. She placed second in the 100 hurdles (16.00), and third in both the javelin (112-2) and high jump (4-11). Burke also ran the third leg of the third place 4 x 400 relay (4:10.76) that consisted of Sarah Matthiesen, Delaney Schurer and Tricia Serres.

Courtesy Norse Athletics

Leah Broderick also had a good afternoon. Broderick won both the javelin (126-6) and high jump (5-3) and ran the third leg of the second place 4 x 400 (4:07.16). Also on this team was Anna Lampe, Marea Holkesvik and Katie Dennis.

Lampe also placed first in the 400 hurdles (1:05.13) and Holkesvik placed third in this same event (1:07.56).

Elise Heiser won the triple jump (35-3 3/4) with a distance that ranks ninth all-time. She also placed second in the long jump (16-2 1/2). Addi Tapp also posted a top-three finish in the triple jump finishing third (34-5 3/4).

Jackie Hoyme led the throwers with a second place finish in the hammer (150-9) and third place finish in the discus (128-9).

In the distance events, Kara Maloney and Hannah Wright placed first (10:32.77) and third (10:39.44) in the 3,000, and Kaia Bierman finished second in the 1500 (4:48.23).

The 4 x 100 foursome of Molly Wettach, Erin Kammer, Alexis Hove and Randi-Kate Canoy placed first (50.92). Hove also placed third in the 100 (13.36).

The Iowa Conference Championships are next for the Norse. The league will travel to Simpson College May 7-9. The Multi-events will begin on May 7 with the rest of the events beginning on May 8.

Norse Men ©Jim Kirby

Norse Men
©Jim Kirby

Norse Men

Wartburg College won the annual dual between the Knights and Norse 103-86 this afternoon in Carlson Stadium.

Isaac Jensen highlighted the running events placing first in the 3200 (9:24.17) with a time that ranks ninth on Luther’s all-time list.

Also posting first place finishes included Joel Clarke in the 110 hurdles (15.44) and Peter Krumm in the 100 (11.57). Krumm also placed third in the 200 (22.82).

Top three finishes were recorded by Kurt Hellmann and Sam Stokes-Cerkvenik that both placed second in the 800 (1:55.24) and 400 hurdles (55.87) respectively. Third place finishes were recorded by Elijah Kane in the 100 (11.79), John Donovan in the 1500 (4:03.76) and Nick Sigrist in the 110 hurdles (16.09).

The 4 x 100 foursome of Kane, Krumm, Cole Hocker and Henry Jungbauer placed second with a time of 43.05 that ranks tied for sixth all-time.

In the field events the Norse took the top three places in both the javelin and pole vault. Top three finishers in the javelin were Kane (153-7), Peter Lillibridge (151-7) and Kyle Hove (149-1). The pole vault finishers included Erik Queoff (14-0), Sigrist (12-1 1/2) and Jacob Miller (12-1 1/2).

Sigrist also placed third in the high jump (5-2 1/4), while Caleb Freund placed second (5-8) in this same event.

Dedrick Lee won the long jump (21-6 3/4) and finished second in the triple jump (42-2 1/4). Grant Preheim was third in the triple jump (42-1 1/4).

The Iowa Conference Championship are next on the schedule. Simpson College will host this year’s championship May 7-9. The decathlon will begin May 7, with the remainder of the events starting May 8.

Dylan Kalinay-S. Tama-Simpson
©Jim Kirby

Storm Shine at the Kip Jarnvin Open

 Bayley Fleshner-W. Fork-Simpson ©Jim Kirby

Bayley Fleshner-W. Fork-Simpson
©Jim Kirby

Running in front of the home crowd for the first time in his young career, pieced together a solid meet with three, top-four performances to lead the Simpson track and field team at the Kip Janvrin Open on Friday evening.

Despite wet, chilly conditions, the meet featured more than 750 competitors from 39 colleges and universities from across the country. Friday marked the 10th edition of the Kip Janvrin Open, which is named in honor of the 1998 Simpson graduate and 2000 Olympic decathlete.

Courtesy Strom Athletics

The meet began Thursday with the hammer throw and discus and concluded with the remainder of the field events and running events Friday.

Kalinay was the top Division III finisher in all three individual events in which he competed. He won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.94, placed third in the 100 meters in 11.15 and took fourth in the 200 meters in 22.43.

Simpson got another top-three effort in the high jump, where Isaac Frazier cleared 6-feet, 3 1/4 inches to place third. Frazier added a 10th-place effort in the triple jump (40-11 3/4).

Nick Yaeger hung with the front-runners in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, ultimately taking fourth in 9:38.47.

The women’s team got a great performance from its 4×100-meter relay quartet of Bayley Fleshner, Lauren Martin, Sarah Ney and Sarah Galbraith, taking second in a season-best 49.33.

Fleshner added a 10th-place effort in the 100 hurdles, crossing the finish line in 15.29.

Martin, Ney and Hannah Moulds all added 13th-place finishes. Martin took 13th in the 400 meters (1:00.92), Ney in the 200 (26.55) and Moulds in the long jump (16-5 1/4).

Meet Records

A total of four meet records fell on Friday

  • Women’s 200 – Chantel Stennis, Lewis (24.36)
  • Women’s 5k – Sasha Hovind, Northern State (17:08.73)
  • Women’s 100 hurdles – Deborah John, unattached (13.95)
  • Men’s 4×100 – Leonard/Korbelik/Prindle/Meyer, Northwest Missouri State (42.22)

Up Next

Simpson goes to the Dubuque Twilight on Friday, May 1 in the final tune up before the Iowa Conference Championships. Simpson hosts the IIAC Championships, which take place May 7-9.

Maddie Beeler-I-35-UNI
©Jim Kirby

UNI’s Maddie Beeler Feeling at Home at Drake by Scott Vickerost

Maddie Beeler-I-35-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Maddie Beeler-I-35-UNI
©Jim Kirby

Former Interstate 35 standout Maddie Beeler felt at home here last weekend, running at the Drake Relays for the University of Northern Iowa.

The UNI junior ran on the Panthers’ 4×400 and 4×200 relay teams at the Drake Relays on Friday.

Courtesy Scott Vickerost-Oceola Sentinel 

“I’m always just so blessed to be here,” Beeler said. “I know some people who don’t run in college don’t have this opportunity anymore. I’m just so happy to come back and run for my home crowd and do my best.”

Do her best is exactly what Beeler did Friday afternoon in the 4×400 relay.

Beeler took the handoff from teammate Darian Samuelson, who ran the leadoff leg, and ran a big second leg for the Panthers. Beeler used a strong finish in the final 100 meters to pick off a couple of places in the second heat.

She split a 55.1 for the Panthers, who ended up sixth in the heat and 19th overall out of the 27-team field.

“I’ve been working on that last part. It’s just got to get a little stronger each time and it gets a little easier,” Beeler said about her finish. “I felt pretty strong. To be honest, we didn’t get much of a warmup, because they kind of brought us down there pretty quick. So I didn’t have much time to think about it. Just went out there and did it. It’s kind of a blur, really.”

Northern Iowa ran 3:45.05 as a team. Joining Beeler on the relay were Samuelson, Jennifer Roberts and Holly Salzbrenner. That time currently ranks the Panthers third in the Missouri Valley Conference.

It marked just the second time this outdoor season the Panthers have run that 4×400 quartet.

“We’ve only run the 4×400 twice yet this year,” Beeler said. “We wanted to hit 3:45 today. It’s a huge season best. We’ve kind of been playing with the order a little bit, but I think we’ve finally found one that works, so we’re all very pleased. We just put it all out there, so we’re very pleased.”

Beeler also ran on UNI’s 11th-place 4×200 relay team, which ran 1:41.05. She ran the leadoff leg for that relay.

After going through a rough indoor season in which she dealt with several minor injuries, Beeler said she’s rounding into form during the outdoor season.

“Indoor season was a little bit tough, because I kind of battled some minor injuries, so I think I’m really hitting my stride in outdoor season and staying healthy,’ she said. “With that bigger track, it’s always nice, too. Outdoor season has been going really well so far. I’ve been hitting season’s best every time, so just on my way to a new PR, I guess.”

Beeler ran a 56.5 in the 400 meter dash the previous weekend at Indiana State University.

With three weeks left until the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships, Beeler hopes to keep improving her times so she can accomplish her goals.

“Obviously, we’d like to make top three in the conference (on the 4×400 relay),” Beeler said. “That’s what we always like to do, is work hard and try to get on that podium for that. I’d like to make finals in the 400 as an individual.”

The Panthers travel to the Musco Invitational Saturday in Iowa City and then host the Messersmith Invitational on May 8. The MVC Outdoor Championships are May 15-17 in Bloomington, Ill.

Former Clarke state and Drake Relays champion Sarah Pate is also a member of the University of Northern Iowa track and field team.

Pate, a redshirt freshman, finished second in the discus competition at the Gibson Invite in Terra Haute, Ind., on April 17, throwing 150-1, which ranks her fifth all-time in UNI history. She also threw 174-0 for sixth place in the hammer throw.

Kevin Lewis-Ottumwa-Iowa
©Jim Kirby

Lewis to Receive Hawkeye’s Big Ten Medal of Honor

Kevin Lewis-Ottumwa-Iowa ©Jim Kirby

Kevin Lewis-Ottumwa-Iowa
©Jim Kirby

University of Iowa seniors Kevin Lewis (men’s cross country, men’s track & field) Samantha Logic (women’s basketball) and Brandon Scherff (football) earned top honors at Monday night’s University of Iowa annual academic and athletic achievement banquet. Lewis and Logic were named Iowa’s Big Ten Medal of Honor winners, while Logic and Scherff were named Iowa’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year for 2014-15.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics

Lewis was a second team All-American in the 5,000 meters during the 2015 indoor track and field season, and is a two-time All-Region honoree in cross country, A native of Ottumwa, Iowa, Lewis holds the indoor school records in the 3,000 (7:57.06) and 5,000 meters (13:43.70). He also ranks in the all-time top 10 performances in six other track and cross country events. He earned first team All-Big Ten honors during the 2014 cross country season, and was Iowa’s top finisher in every race he competed in the past two seasons. Lewis is a four-time academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Logic, a native of Racine, Wisconsin, started all 135 games during her four-year career with the Hawkeyes, scoring 1,546 points (10th in school history), grabbing 922 rebounds (second), and handing out 898 assists (first by 322). The fourth consensus All-American in Iowa women’s basketball school history, Logic is the only player in NCAA history to accumulate at least 1,500 career points, 800 rebounds, 800 assists, and 200 steals. She was drafted by the Atlanta Dream in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Draft earlier this month. She was the 2015 Senior CLASS Award winner, a Capital One Academic All-American, and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Scherff was a unanimous consensus All-American and won the Outland Trophy, which is annually awarded to the nation’s top interior offensive lineman, following the 2014 season. The 2014 Rimington-Pace Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year, Scherff started all 26 games over his final two seasons with the Hawkeyes at left tackle. The Denison, Iowa, native was a two-time first team All-Big Ten selection and two-time Iowa Most Valuable Player on offense.

The Big Ten Medal of Honor is the conference’s most exclusive award, and the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” Big Ten schools currently feature more than 8,200 student-athletes, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.

Logic and Scherff will be Iowa’s nominees for the 2015 Big Ten Conference Athletes of the Year awards. Winners will be announced in late June, following a vote by a panel of Big Ten media voters.

Alex Wilson-Mt. Vernon Lisbon-UNI
©Jim Kirby

Alex Wilson to Receive MVC Leadership & Service Award

Alex Wilson-Mt. Vernon Lisbon-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Alex Wilson-Mt. Vernon Lisbon-UNI
©Jim Kirby

Senior track and field standout Alex Wilson has been named one of the spring recipients of the MVC Leadership & Service Award, the conference announced today.

Wilson is one of 10 student-athletes that were named to the prestigious award by Commissioner Doug Elgin. In order to be eligible for the award, the student-athlete must be in good academic standing, must demonstrate good citizenship through good sportsmanship and significant community service, and must participate in a sport, during the season of recognition.

Courtesy Panther Athletics

Wilson has posted a solid senior year heading into the final leg of the regular outdoor season. The Lisbon, Iowa native has broken the 1,500 meter run record twice this month and now has four individual UNI records under her belt between the indoor and outdoor seasons. She is currently leading the Missouri Valley in the 1,500 by over seven seconds and is ranked in the top-20 in the NCAA West Region.

Off the track, Wilson has been a part of the Dean’s List for four semesters and the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for six. She was named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete team for cross country this past fall after placing second overall at the MVC Championship meet.

She is an avid volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club along with participating in the Junior Panther and Panther Reading programs. Wilson also spends time each year volunteering for the National Girls and Women in Sports Day and the Waterloo Department of Corrections with the Waterloo Women’s Center for Change.

Wilson and the Panthers will return to action this Saturday when they compete in the Musco Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa.

  • 2014-15 Spring MVC Leadership & Service Award Winners
  • Eric Delvo, Bradley, Men’s Outdoor Track & Field
  • Kathryn Clausen, Drake, Women’s Golf, Junior
  • Marketa Trousilova, Evansville, Women’s Tennis, Senior
  • Kelly McShea, Illinois State, Women’s Outdoor Track & Field, Junior
  • Megan Stone, Indiana State, Softball, Senior
  • Annie Korth, Loyola, Softball, Senior
  • Ali Trickey, Missouri State, Softball, Senior
  • Alexina Wilson, UNI, Women’s Outdoor Track & Field, Senior
  • Oscar Medina, Southern Illinois, Men’s Outdoor Track & Field, Senior
  • Brianne Bond, Wichita State, Softball, Senior.
Ashton Eaton-Oregon Oregon Nike Project 
©Jim Kirby

“Believing in Super Heroes” by Coach Dan Steele

Bruce Jenner-Graceland-Olympic Decathlete ©Sports Illustrated/CNN

Bruce Jenner-Graceland-Olympic Decathlete
©Sports Illustrated/CNN

Here is an excellent recent post by Coach Dan Steele from his UNI Track and Field Blog

When I was seven years old, my twin brother, Darrin and I watched every second of the 1976 Olympic decathlon. I still remember the two of us on the floor in front of the TV, watching a man named Bruce Jenner break the world record en route to his Olympic gold medal. Like thousands of people around the world, Bruce was like a superhero to us. Without question, he was my first real hero. He inspired in me a love for the decathlon and Olympic Games that remains to this day.

I have been fortunate in my life to have met a good number of famous people. Some have been kind and some of been jerks. I once met one of my greatest athletic heroes who rolled his eyes when I told him what a big fan I was, and asked him for an autograph. I very conspicuously tossed the autographed piece of paper into the trash as I walked away, crushed.

And then there was Bruce Jenner. In 1995 I emerged on the scene as a rookie, national class decathlete. In 1990, Visa became the signature sponsor of the US decathlon, sponsoring the top ten US decathletes each year. It was an amazing partnership, connecting current decathletes with the greats of the past. I finished 5th at the ’95 US Championships and was named to the Visa USA Decathlon Team. The morning of the ’95 team announcement I stepped into an elevator that Bruce was in. I’d like to say I introduced myself in that moment and finally met my childhood hero. Instead, I was transported back in time, a seven year old, too star-struck to say a word to his hero. Through the Visa sponsorship I did eventually meet him, along with all the other living US decathlon gold medalists. I found Bruce easy to talk with and genuine. In fact, I am very happy to say they were all great, great guys.
One year later I was in my Atlanta high rise hotel room the night before the 1996 Olympic Trials. It was after midnight and I was too keyed up to sleep. I decided to take a walk. I remember riding down an enormous escalator and seeing Bruce all by himself in the lobby. He saw me as I stepped off the escalator, smiled and walked up to me. He correctly assumed I couldn’t sleep and asked how I was feeling about my chances of finishing top three. I played it cool, but was thrilled to run into him.

Then, in one of the most surreal moments of my life, he told me a story. He told me how he had been in the Quad Cities (where I grew up) a couple of weeks earlier for an appearance. He said he was at a media event where local reporters were asking him questions. “One of the reporters asked me if I thought you had a chance to make the Olympic team in the decathlon,” he told me. “I told them, You know, I just watched him compete, and that guy’s pretty darn good. I said, Yes, I think he’s got a real shot.” His words just hung in the air. Here I was in front of my childhood hero, and he was telling ME a story about a reporter asking HIM a question about me. And he knew me well enough to answer the question.

I remember very distinctly thinking to myself that I have no idea what it feels like to “make it,” but this was good enough for me. Bruce didn’t have to share that story with me. I wasn’t a star of any kind, and he had been around long enough to know that I would never be one. The generosity he showed me in that moment has always stayed with me. My first hero in life was worthy of my admiration.

Through the years it has pained me to see and hear the ridicule directed at Bruce Jenner. I’ve always been quick to defend him. I have watched the Kardashians, and my opinion of Bruce hasn’t changed. Even on the show I find him kind and generous. I see him as the voice of reason. This past year the rumors regarding his gender identity have been frequent. Selfishly, I’ve not accepted any of it. “It’s for the show,” I’d say. “Nope. No way.” I am accepting this is a very real issue thousands of people (millions?) must deal with. But Bruce Jenner was my hero. I just couldn’t accept that someone so influential to me was somebody else.

This weekend I brought my athletes to the Drake Relays. My famous former athlete, and his coach, Harry Marra were there as well. I’ve known Harry since 1995- he was instrumental in the Visa partnership and is a personal friend mine, and of Bruce. A more decent man- more committed to the decathlon, you’ll never meet. Friday evening Harry and I ran into each other outside of Drake stadium, right around the time of the Bruce Jenner, Diane Sawyer interview. We discussed Bruce and our take on this- both wishing we were watching the interview instead of waiting for the hotel shuttle. We casually explored ulterior motives and possible explanations outside of face value. Finally, Harry said, “You know, I don’t know what the truth is, Dan. But I consider Bruce a friend. I’ll always consider him a friend.” And that pretty much summed it up. I can’t personally say he’s a friend because I don’t know him that way. But I can say he always was and always will be my hero.

Ashton Eaton and Daniel Gooris-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Ashton Eaton and Daniel Gooris-UNI
©Jim Kirby

The next day I was able to watch Ashton interact with fans. I’ve known Ashton since he was a high school senior and I am proud of whatever role I played in his assent to becoming the world’s greatest athlete. I swell with pride watching the kindness and generosity he shows to a young athlete I currently coach who says Ashton is his hero. Just last week I told Ashton’s mom, Roz that I was more proud of the man Ashton’s become than I am the athlete. Of course, she concurred. Watching Ashton with his fans is surreal. I see myself with Bruce and sit in awe at the incredible connection between the seven year old I was, Bruce, Ashton and the current generation that sees Ashton as a hero.

I got home last night from the Drake Relays and the first thing I did this morning was watch the entire interview of Bruce on Hula Plus. Maybe I’m naïve, but I didn’t see any ulterior motives. I saw my childhood hero, bravely telling a story that most of us would be terrified to tell. I take him at his word. Clearly, I know very little about the transgender community, but I have great compassion for anyone trying to navigate this life with a gender identity different than their gender assignment. I can’t imagine the courage it takes to go public with this. As if life isn’t challenging enough.
So as it turns out, the man I idolized in childhood, (in his words) “has the soul of a woman.” At the age of 65, Bruce Jenner is courageously telling his story because he can’t live a lie anymore. And so begins his brave new authentic life as a woman. He aspires to change the world by bringing front page awareness to the transgender community. And I am forced to come to terms with the following truth: The man I saw as a superhero in childhood turns out to be a genuine, bonafide superhero. Who knew? And how lucky am I?

You can read more from Coach Steele’s blog by Clicking Here.

Loren Opp-Garner-Dordt
©Jim Kirby

Dordt Defenders Compete at Drake

Loren Opp-Garner-Dordt ©Jim Kirby

Loren Opp-Garner-Dordt
©Jim Kirby

The Dordt College track and field team had several competitors at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Women’s Distance Medley Relay team (Kayla Byl, Laurel Zomer, Lillie Koerner, Abby De Vries) ran 9th in 12:07.21.

The women’s 4 x 400 (Miranda Velgersdyk, Dani Wubben, Marisa Broersma, Robyn Blount) finished 20th in a time of 3:55.19.

The women’s 4 x 100 (Velgersdyk, Blount, Broersma, Brooke Wolterstorff) ran 15th in 48.22.

The men’s 4 x 100 (Den Fennig, Josiah Eckels, Xavier Caffee, Keith Heidema) ran 23rd in 43.05.

The men’s 4 x 800 (Sam Wensink, Stephan McNamara, Nick Vander Kooi, Trent Kischer) ran 13th in 7:51.90.

None of the Dordt relays qualified for the finals on Saturday.

There are three relays competing on Saturday at the Blue Oval.

The women’s sprint medley team (Wolterstorff, Blount, Velgersdyk, Justine Van Zee) will compete at 9:00. The men’s sprint medley (Fennig, Caffee, Eckels, Wensink) will run at 9:20 and the women’s 4 x 800 (Kayla Byl, Kelsey Lewis, Lillie Koerner, Van Zee) cap the competition for Dordt at 11:05.