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MARION, IN (5/25) The second day of the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships started out with some cloud cover and calmer winds than the opening day. However, by 2 p.m. temperatures on the track soared to over 90 degrees.
Cornerstone sent four race walkers on to the track to battle the heat and the competition. Cody Risch settled into the lead group that quickly separated from the rest of the field. Just before halfway through the 5,000 meter event, Risch moved to the front, stringing out the top three. Three laps later, Alejandro Chavez of Missouri Baptist and 2012 NAIA Indoor race walk champion was off the back and the race was between Risch and Ben Thorne of British Columbia. With 500 meters remaining, Thorne made a huge push to the front, pulling away. Risch waited to respond over the final lap, but the UBC walker never slowed, winning in 22:41.13. Risch was second in 22:57.70.
CU freshman, Nathan Vanderwall walked patiently in ninth for eight laps then moved around Aleksander Jakobsen of Ashord. Both men slowed in the final mile, dealing with both the heat and the need to hold form to avoid violation marks from the judges. Vanderwall stayed legal to the line then celebrated his All-American finish in his first nationals race.
The heat was good for the hurdlers. Ryan advanced to Saturday's final easing up to a 52.50 PR in the 400 meter hurdles. He finished fourth in his heat with the 6th best time going into the final. Adam Duerksen ran a near best 54.04 to take eighth in his heat.
Duerksen and Versen were joined by Eric Schroeder and Zach Yeo for the 4 x 400 meter relay. Ryan split 46.7 on the third leg and Yeo's 47.8 anchor brought the Golden Eagles home in fourth. Their time of 3:14.29 left them two places shy making Saturday's final.