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The 2009-10 season for the Golden Eagles produced 6 School Records, 7 Freshman Records, 6 NAIA All-Americans, 2 NAIA National Champions and 1 USATF Nationals qualifier. A talented group of freshmen join with seven returning NAIA Nationals qualifiers for 2010-2011.
Always a strong point at CU, this group has been represented at Nationals in both individual and relay events since 2001. The 2010 4x400 squad won the WHAC Indoor title and qualified for the NAIA Indoor National Championships, giving the Golden Eagles nine trips to Nationals in the last ten years. The outdoor 4x400 group posted an automatic qualifying time for the eighth time in nine years. From those relays , junior Adam Duerksen (Mancelona HS/Mancelona, MI) and sophomore Zach Yeo (Cedar Springs HS/Cedar Springs, MI) return. The 4x100 squad posted a provisional qualifying time for the third consecutive year, and return Jimmy Russ (Northview HS/Grand Rapids, MI) along with Duerksen and Yeo. Zach Yeo, who was named the 2010 WHAC Indoor Athlete of the Year in his freshman campaign broke a three CU first year marks indoors in the 200m(22.32), 400m (48.95)and 600m(1:22.66), bettering the NAIA national qualifying standards in each. Freshman Ryan Versen (Kenowa Hills HS/ Grand Rapids, MI) has run 22.7 and 49.5 as a prep and is expected to contribute to the sprint corps as well.
Between the 60H, 110H and 400H at the conference level, the CU hurdlers scored in each hurdle race including two different athletes finishing in the top three of each events. Junior captain John Klumpp (Wyoming Park HS/Wyoming, MI) joins fellow junior Adam Duerksen as two 400m hurdlers with NAIA national meet experience. Duerksen and Klumpp have run 55.20 and 55.28 respectively. Also in this group, and not far off national qualifying in the 400H, is Jim Van Oss (South Christian HS/ Kentwood, MI) with a personal best time of 55.52 who hopes to cap off his senior campaign with a trip to outdoor nationals in the event. Two talented freshmen, Versen and Joe Hockett (Heritage Christian HS/Indianapolis, IN) plan to figure in WHAC scoring. Versen, who was a two- time MHSAA Division 1 All-State 300m hurdler boasts a time of 38.71 in the event, should have no trouble adjusting the 400m hurdles. Hockett, the better high-long combination of the two hurdlers brings in times of 14.66 for the 110H which won him the Indianapolis City crown and 39.39 for the 300m hurdles. These five give the Golden Eagles the deepest hurdle group in school history.
Going vertically and horizontally is something the Golden Eagles have done successfully over the years. Returning Indoor School Record holder in the pole vault, Chad Butler (Dryden HS/ Dryden, MI) is joined by junior Matt Kimball (Byron Center HS/ Wyoming, MI). Butler hopes to improve upon his own school record indoors (14'5 ¾) and add an outdoor record. Former freshman record holder, Matt Kimball, returns to the team after a five year hiatus, including a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps, with visions of besting Butler. Going over the high jump bar is freshman Spencer Perry (Lenawee Christian HS/ Adrian, MI) who is an MHSAA Division 4 All-State jumper with a personal best of 6'3". Butler's ability to jump horizontally shined through as well as he scored at the WHAC Indoor and Outdoor meets in the long jump and triple jump. Another long jumper is fellow sophomore Eric Schroeder (Climax-Scots HS/ Scots, MI) who cracked the CU top ten list as a freshman.
Butler, who captured the indoor freshman mark in the Heptathlon (4,296 points) looks to become a first time NAIA qualifier in the event. Perry, who comes from a small high school which allowed him to throw discus, run hurdles, sprint, and high jump looks to make the transition of putting all the events together for a multi-event score and potentially join Butler in Geneva, OH for the 2011 Indoor National Championships.
The graduation of 2010 NAIA Steeplechase National Champion, Zach Ripley opens a new chapter in CU distance running. The first item of business will be to get the Distance Medley relay to the NAIA Indoor National meet. The men's DMR has the longest current streak of Nationals appearances dating back to 2004. Sophomore Jared Courtright (Hudsonville HS / Wyoming, MI) led off last season's school record in the event. Others in the relay pool include classmate, Cody Risch (Williamston HS / Mason, MI) seniors Alex Green (Northview HS / Grand Rapids, MI) and Peter Kaijala (Mona Shores HS / Muskegon, MI). Green placed seventh in the 5,000m at the 2010 NAIA Indoor Championships and seventh in the steeplechase at Outdoor Nationals and looks to finish his career at least one spot better in each. Risch and Kaijala joined Green and Ripley for a 1,2,3,5 finish at in the Steeplechase at last season's WHAC Outdoor meet. Captain, Kris Shear earned All-America honors both Indoors and Outdoors in 2010 rewriting the CU records in the race walk at the 3,000m (13:50.44) and 5,000m (23:16.44) distances. His 10,000m race walk record of 51:11.66 came at the Penn Relays and qualified him for the USA Track & Field National Championships. Entering his third season in the walk, Shear looks to keep improving at the NAIA and USATF levels.