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(Grand Rapids, Mich.) In a team meeting two hours before the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field meet, coach Rod Wortley told the underclassmen to watch the seniors to see the model for how to get the job done in WHAC competition. The seniors didn't disappoint and the underclassmen proved to be quick learners.
Alex Green bookended the meet with two outstanding senior efforts. In the steeplechase he led David Weeks of Siena dictate the pace for three laps then turned up the pressure slightly, easing his way to a five second margin of victory in 9:24.58 and defending his title from 2010. In the 5,000 meters Green maintained an even pace between 1:13 and 1:14 per lap to string out the field over eight laps. In the final mile, only Aquinas' Dustin Heiler could hang on. Alex churned out a 32-second last 200 meters claiming his second conference title of the day 15:13.14 to 15:15.78. Jared Courtright was seventh in a personal best 15:36.92.
Equally inspiring were the efforts of senior hurdlers, John Klumpp and Jim VanOss. Both raced to PR's in the 110 hurdles with Klumpp in fourth in 15.64 and VanOss fifth in 15.97. The pair were joined by Adam Duerksen in the 400 meter hurdles producing a 3-4-5 finish. Duerksen and Klumpp improved the PR's and NAIA provisional marks clocking 53.84 and 54.19 and VanOss ran a season best 57.51.
Fellow sprinters Ryan Versen and Zach Yeo followed suit in the flat 400 placing third and fourth. Versen's 48.23 broke the freshman record of 48.46 set by Jacob Erickson in 2007, while Yeo's 48.33 ranks fourth on the CU all-time list.
In other distance events, freshmen Isaac Cox and Tyler Grey each ran personal bests in the 1500 meters. Cox took third in 4:00.52 and Grey took four seconds off his previous best in seventh at 4took four seconds off his previous best in seventh at 4:08.38. Both returned for the 800 meters, which turned out to be one of the most exciting races of the meet. Cox and Aquinas' Nick Thelen needed the entire distance to determine the winner with Thelen winning in 1:53.87 to Isaac's 1:54.14. Grey grabbed his second PR of the night running 2:00.99 for 11th.
In a fitting conclusion to the evening, the 4 x 400 meter relay followed Green win in the 5,000 meters. Versen led off with an outstanding 48.8 followed by Duerksen's 49.4 and Cox's 49.2 to put the Golden Eagles in second, fifteen meters behind Indiana Tech. Zach Yeo used the first 200 meters to work his way into striking distance then positioned himself on his opponent's outside shoulder coming off the final turn. Athletes from both teams lined the homestretch screaming encouragement as both men battled the final 100 meters. Yeo found just enough momentum to nudge ahead at the line. His 47.9 split gave CU a winning time of 3:15.49, a school record, meet record and NAIA automatic qualifier.
Siena Heights won the team title with 205 points ahead of Indiana Tech's 151. Aquinas took third with 123, Cornerstone fourth at 85, Davenport fifth with 83.5 and Concordia sixth with 1.5 points.