Caleb Pollema–Staff Writer
It’s not often that athletes get a shot at a championship, but several Dordt track athletes got this opportunity at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Pittsburg, Kan.
The three-day event brought some of the NAIA’s best track and field teams together to see who could come home with the National Championship title.
Dordt had athletes competing both in individual events as well as relays. In the women’s 4×800-meter relay, Dordt’s women finished ninth and missed the finals by less than one second.
In the men’s 4×800-meter and 4×400-meter relays, Dordt’s men missed eighth place and a spot in the finals by only three seconds.
In the women’s distance medley relay, Dordt finished ninth after originally being placed in eighth, due to an appeal that reinstated another team.
“It would have been nice to qualify for finals in several of our relays, but I thought our relays all ran their best times of the season and ran some solid races,” said Dordt 4×400-meter relay participant Caleb Herman. “Overall, I was proud of how I, and other teammates, competed at Nationals.”
After the relays, the Dordt team looked to support their teammates in several individual events, two of whom competed in the 5,000 meters: Audrey Brooks and Caleb Drake.
On Saturday, Drake ran the 5,000 meters and finished in third place with a time of 14:49.39. He claimed NAIA All-American honors for his performance.
Brooks, a senior, competed in the 5,000-meter race for the Defenders. Brooks finished with the second-fastest time in preliminaries, with a time of 17:51.52 and was less than half a second behind the leader.
Brooks advanced to the Saturday finals where she claimed NAIA National Champion Runner-up honors with a time of 17:38.26. Brooks also earned NAIA All-American honors with her performance.
In the women’s mile, Erica De Schiffart earned NAIA All-American honors with a sixth-place finish and a time of 5:01.45.
In the other events, Joscelyn Wind finished ninth in the Pentathlon and in the men’s throw, David Davelaar finished ninth and Ike Van Kempen finished 20th.
Dani Wubben finished 14th in the women’s 60-meter hurdles and Keith Heidema finished 20th in the men’s 60-meter hurdles.
With the indoor season in the books, the track and field team is preparing for the outdoor season.
“It’s always exciting to start the outdoor season and build on our indoor training,” Wind said. “While the transition from the indoor season to outdoor is exciting, it can also be difficult. We often have to deal with weather that is less than ideal, especially early in the season.”
Even with the difficult transition from indoor to outdoor ahead of them, the track and field team is excited for what lies ahead and the opportunity to build on their great performance at Nationals in indoor.