NAIA National Championship
The Dordt Defender men’s 4x800 meter relay team claimed a national title in the event on day two of the NAIA National Track and Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Joscelyn Wind moved from 9th to 5th in the final standings of the pentathlon with her performances in the long jump, javelin and 800 meters to earn All-American status.
The title is the second in Dordt’s history, joining Jen (Kempers) Van Otterloo who won the steeplechase in 2008.
The 4x800 was in sixth place after a carry by Jebadiah Merkle to start the race. Merkle turned the baton over to David Temte who ran a 1:52 split to get the Defenders into third place. Anthony Ghiorso chased down both runners in front of him with a 1:51 split and turned the baton over to Matthew Van Eps with a 14-hundredths of a second lead. The sophomore didn’t disappoint, fighting off a challenge by Columbia late to run a 1:50 split and give the Defenders the title in a school record time of 7:31.34 which was a full second better than the record set in 2010.
Earlier in the day Van Eps qualified for the 800 meter finals on Saturday with a runner-up finish in heat four in 1:52.53. Temte also ran the 800 prelims and was 21st in the prelims in 1:56.68.
Wind totaled 4,712 points in the seven-event competition with a long jump of 5.31 meters, a throw of 33.16 meters in the javelin and a time of 2:26.56 in the 800 meters. Wind started the day in ninth but steadily moved up the standings on the final day and nipped the sixth place finisher by one point. Wind ended up 13 points out of fourth and will compete in the high jump on Saturday.
Ike Van Kempen concluded his highly successful career with a 20th place finish in the discus as he sent the platter 45.81 meters.
Both 4x400 teams competed in the prelims but were unable to advance to the finals. Anmarie Stuit, Mika Kooistra, Jenna Stephens and Elizabeth Rankin ran 3:50.85 to finish 9th in the event
Lucas Van Eps, Caleb Herman, Mark Bakker and Matthew Van Eps ran the 4x400 in 3:20.94 and were 24th in the field in the prelims.
Action concludes on Saturday for the Defenders with three women’s high jumpers and Van Eps’s competition in the 800 meters.