A pair of national runner-up finishes propelled the Central men’s track and field squad to a sixth-place team finish at the NCAA Division III Championships in Waverly May 25-27.
Central’s seventh top-10 national team finish—and its highest since 2001—followed its sixth Iowa Conference outdoor crown in coach Joe Dunham’s eight seasons, after earlier capturing the league’s indoor title.
So much for expectations of a rebuilding year in 2016 for the Dutch dynasty.
Senior Cole Decker put the finishing touches on one of the most impressive distance running careers in program history by placing second in the national 10,000 meters in 30:49.33. He followed that with a seventh-place effort less than 48 hours later in the 5,000 (14:42.29). Decker was a three-time outdoor track all-America honoree and league indoor MVP after earning all-America distinction last fall in cross country, where he was also a two-time conference MVP and Central Region athlete of the year.
The book is not yet closed on junior Logan Mulford, who was second in the NCAA high jump. He soared 6-10.75 inches, losing the title on the basis of fewest misses.
Meanwhile senior Dan Roemerman, the conference track MVP, broke his own school record to take third in the 110- meter hurdles (14.19 seconds).
Central shared 58th in the women’s division, as two relay squads placed, giving the Dutch eight men’s and women’s all-America honorees.
The unit of seniors Abi Davis, Ashlee Downs and Monica Ruiz and freshman Hope Heitman was seventh in the 4×100-meter relay in 47.38 seconds, after breaking a 34-year-old school record in the preliminaries at 47.27.
Downs, sophomore Kate Patton, Heitman and Davis were also seventh in the 4×400-meter relay (3:48.94).
Davis also competed in the 100 and 200 at the national meet but failed to place. She was a four-time all-America honoree for the Dutch while claiming seven league outdoor titles and eight indoor crowns. She was the conference indoor track MVP a year ago and took outdoor MVP honors twice.