North Central men take 3rd in Division III track
BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI For Sun-Times Media May 28, 2014 9:21PM
Updated: June 30, 2014 12:52PM
North Central took its place on the team medal platform last weekend at the NCAA Division III men’s track championships in Delaware, Ohio. That’s just where the Cardinals want to be.
“It was fabulous,” coach Frank Gramarosso said. “Anytime you get up on that trophy stand, it makes the whole season a great success. It was fun.”
With six All-America performances, including a 1-3-5 finish in the 10,000-meter run, the Cardinals scored 35 points to finish third behind Mount Union (47) and Wisconsin-La Crosse (42). Wisconsin-Oshkosh was fourth with 27 points to claim the final team medal.
That put North Central on the four-team medal stand after just missing with fifth-place finishes the last two years after winning national championships in 2010 and 2011.
John Crain wrapped up his college career by winning the 10,000 in 31:11.83 on Thursday, then coming back Saturday to finish second in the 5,000 at 14:11.72. In both races, he was neck-and-neck with Haverford’s Chris Stadler, who won the 5,000 and was second in the 10,000.
Crain’s national title was his fourth, after winning the 5,000 outdoors last season and the 3,000 and 5,000 indoors this year.
North Central sophomore Troy Kelleher was third and senior Roger Klein fifth in the 10,000, then Kelleher was 11th in the 5,000. The top eight in each event earn All-America status.
Another sophomore, Adam Weidner, finished fifth in the shot put with a best of 54 feet, 81/4 inches.
“All his marks were over 16 meters,” Gramarosso said. “For a young guy at nationals for the first time, it was great to see him compete. And we needed those three points.”
North Central’s 1,600-meter relay team also turned in an All-America performance, with Derek Nelson, Dionte Hackler, Mustapha Olaoye and Zach Kirby placing fifth in 3:12.71. Hackler, the only senior on the relay, had been sidelined with a leg strain but came back for nationals.
“He said he was going to be ready, and I trusted him,” Gramarosso said. “And he ran great.”
The Cardinals had four All-Americans in the women’s meet at the same site.
Norah Ferguson was North Central’s top finisher, placing fifth in the 1,500 in 4:36.86.
Madison Renfro was seventh in the 100 hurdles in 14.4 seconds, Brooke Patterson sixth in the pole vault at 12-21/2 and Ebony Stallworth sixth in the shot put at 47-41/2.
Stallworth, who was fourth at nationals in 2013, broke her school record of 47-03/4, set May 3 at the CCIW championships.
St. Francis of Joliet and Olivet Nazarene had second-place finishers at the NAIA men’s track championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. St. Francis’ Dylan Reyes was second in the 10,000, finishing in 30:45.41, and teammate Mike Blasczyk was sixth.
Olivet Nazarene’s Jacob Armbrust was a double All-American, second in the discus with a best throw of 172-6 and fourth in the shot put at 55-71/2, while Zach Gordon was fourth in the long jump at 23-9.
At the NAIA women’s championships, Olivet Nazarene’s Amy Blucker took second place in the shot put, third in the discus and sixth in the hammer throw.
Teammate Ambria Tisdell was seventh in the hammer. The Tigers were sixth in the 1,600 and eighth in the 3,200 relays.
St. Francis’ Chelsea Rimington was third in the shot put, and teammate Daryll Rodriguez seventh in the 400 hurdles.
St. Xavier’s Ashley Share ran third in the marathon.