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(Kansas City, Kan.) After a Conference Championship and top-seventeen team finishes at the NAIA Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the 2012-2013 school year yielded one more award. All three sports qualified for NAIA Scholar Team honors.
Needing a minimum 3.0 grade point average for both fall and spring semesters from all eligible team members, the Women's Outdoor Track & Field team completed the year at 3.24. The Indoor T&F team earned a combined average of 3.20 and the Women's Cross Country team came in at 3.02.
The teams were led by thirteen women who made the Dean's List with GPA's above 3.50.
"We had an outstanding year in terms of competition and athletic accomplishment," said CU Director of Cross Country and Track & Field, Rod Wortley. "To get this kind of recognition shows that our women work very hard in class as well. We talk about excellence as an expectation in the Athletics Department and it's good to see that carry over into academics."
(Des Moines, Iowa) Foul weather returned on the final day of the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA. Shortly before the scheduled 7 a.m. start of the men's 20k race walk, meet officials evacuated the stadium as a thunderstorm system approached. For the next three hours, the athletes waited in the Knapp arena. On three occasions, officials announced that lightening was still in the area and the race was still on hold indefinitely.
Three hours later, athletes were allowed to return to the track and given 30 minutes to warm up. The junior women's 10k race walk, scheduled to follow the 20k would now be contested simultaneously so as not to put the rest of the days' events behind schedule. That put CU freshman, Kayla Ovokaitys along with sophomore, Nate Vanderwall and senior Cody Risch altogether in the combined races.
Risch started the 50 lap event walking just under two minutes per lap with Vanderwall ten seconds back after an opening mile of 7:36.
Ovokaitys walked near the back of the Jr. Women's field of ten and worked her way up to eighth but getting two form violations. Kayla slowed a bit in the final laps to minimize the risk of receiving a third mark which would result in disqualification, and didn't respond when passed by Melissa Tylock with 800 meters to go. A careful 25th lap brought her to the finish in 1:00:23.17 for ninth place.
Risch reached halfway passing 10k in 48:38 with one mark on the violation board. Vanderwall survived a digestive disagreement with an energy gel, barley slowing to vomit over the inside rail. He passed 10k in 50:30 and a mark on the board as well.
Risch picked up momentum in the second half, as several in the field faded, passing former NAIA champion Michael Mannozzi. With two miles to go he trailed Alejandro Chavez of Missouri Baptist by nearly 200 meters, but he also had two marks. Needing to avoid a repeat of the NAIA Indoor 3,000 meter championship where Risch beat Chavez in the last lap but was disqualified, Cody worked to find the balance between aggressively pursuing Chavez and avoiding his third mark. With 500 meters to go, Risch pulled even, then moved ahead. Chavez made a half-hearted attempt to go along, but within a few steps his head dropped and he conceded.
Risch held form to the finish, taking fourth in 1:49:39.51, a personal best by seven minutes and the highest finish by a CU athlete at a US Open Championship. Tim Seamam of New York Athletic Club won in 1:30:13.06
Vanderwall also collected a second mark and walked much of the second half trying to avoid his third. He finished eighth in 1:49:39.51.
Both Risch and Vanderwall qualified for prize money but as collegiate athletes were ineligible to accept it.
(Des Moines, Iowa) With a 6:30 a.m. start time, the 20 kilometer race walk was the earliest event at the 2013 USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA. Cornerstone junior, Monica Lawrence joined 2012 CU graduate, Janelle Brown on the starting line. For Brown, the event marked a return to Drake where she competed in the 20k walk in 2010. Lawrence who raced at the USATF Jr. Championships at the 10k distance two years ago was making her 20k debut.
With temperatures in the low 70's and the humidity near 80%, the first hour of the 50 lap event took place before the Sun rose above the top of the stadium. Lawrence, who finished fourth at the NAIA Outdoor Championships one month ago in the 5,000 meter race walk, slowed as the temperature rose. While visibly struggling in the final fifteen laps, Monica carried on, reaching the finish in tenth in 2:13:12.01. Brown was ninth in 2:05:36.70.
DEMOINES, IA (6/19) The Cornerstone Track & Field teams have one meet remaining on the 2013 schedule, the USA Track & Field National Championships at Drake University in Demoines, IA.
Half the group will compete in the USATF Jr. meet, for athletes who do not turn twenty years old in 2013. The other three race in the Open US Championships.
Freshman, Deon Fox qualified in the decathlon which will take place Wednesday June 19 starting at 1:30 p.m. (all times eastern standard) and Thursday June 20 at 11 a.m. Classmate Michael Mahon competes in the hammer throw Friday June 21 at 2 p.m. and Kayla Ovokaitys is in the 10k race walk Sunday June 23 at 9:45 a.m.
Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. Monica Lawrence and CU T&F alumnus, Janelle Brown are in the 20k race walk followed by Cody Risch and Nate Vanderwall in the same event Sunday at 8 a.m.
"Not only is it a special honor to compete at the US Championships, it's a great opportunity to see and get to meet the very best Track & Field athletes in the United States," said CU Director of Track & Field, Rod Wortley.
The meet also serves as the trials for the World Championships to be held in Moscow, Russia this summer as well as the Pan Am Junior Championships scheduled for August in Medellin, Colombia.
(Marion, Ind.) Cornerstone sent eight women into the final day of competition at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championship on their way to a top fifteen team finish.
The quartet of Julia Contreras, Erin Laplander, Leah Shepherd and CallyAnne Wyma started the marathon at 6 a.m. in a field of 43 competitors. The four followed a conservative race plan, running together for the first 25 kilometers. Wyma broke away in after 20 miles, becoming the third fastest woman in program finishing 21st in 3:17:53.01 in her first attempt at the 26.2 mile distance.
Just thirteen hours after anchoring the 4 x 800 meter relay to an All-American finish, Contreras ended her collegiate career finishing 25th in 3:20:23.10. "What Julia did was unbelievable," said coach Rod Wortley. "There was no reason for her to run this race, other than to help her teammates one last time. She didn't train for this event and the reason she qualified was because she was pacing CallyAnne in her half marathon in December. I find it fitting that her last race underscores the essence of who she is as a teammate and a captain." Shepherd took 30th in 3:24:42.80 and Laplander was 35th in 3:29:26.80.
Saturday afternoon, Anita Souza found enough energy to take sixth in the 100 meter hurdles, running 14.40 and earning her second All-America plaque of the meet.
Louisignau improved one spot from last season, taking ninth in the 3000 meter steeplechase. Her time of 11:05.56 was just off her school record set two weeks earlier.
Haley Russell matched her seeding placing sixteenth in the discus. Her best throw of 136' 6" second only to her school record of 141' 1".
Julie Oosterhouse completed the day for the Golden Eagles in the 800 meter final. After going out in 63 seconds in the first laps of 4 x 800 semis and finals, Oosterhouse was hoping the pace would be closer to 65. All nine women reached 400 meters in 65 seconds with Julie positioned at the back of the pack on the outside. As the leaders stretched out the field on the backstretch, the sophomore from Byron Center began passing. "I had to go earlier than I wanted to, but I needed to cover the move" said Oosterhouse. Off the final turn, she found herself on the rail in the dash for home and matched her sixth place finish from 2012. Her time of 2:11.54 broke the school record of 2:12.29 she set exactly one year ago and earned her second All-America plaque of the meet.
Cornerstone's eight All-Americans totaled 22 points, tying them with Carroll College for fourteenth place out of 60 scoring teams. Indiana Tech dominated the competition winning with 122 points, ahead of Oklahoma Baptist in second with 82.7. WHAC rivals Aquinas finished 23rd with twelve points.