Lee dominates the 1500m and Pioneers improve nationally ranked marks

Lee dominates the 1500m and Pioneers improve nationally ranked marks

La Crosse, Wis. - The Pioneers traveled a small squad of nearly 30 athletes to the Eagle Open last chance meet hosted by UW-La Crosse on Friday, May 10. Three athletes also attended a last chance meet, the NCC Dr. Keeler Track and Field Meet, hosted by North Central College in Naperville, Ill. 

The day began with freshman Ben Veverka throwing a national caliber throw in the discus to win the event at UW-La Crosse. Veverka threw a personal best of 52.50m (172-3) and is now ranked, just behind teammate Alexander Walechka, at No. 5 nationally. Sophomore Alex Girard took seventh for the day, throwing 48.50m (159-1). Girard ranks at No. 20 nationally, with a throw he marked at the WIAC Championships. 

Brittany Ehlen cleared a personal best in the pole vault. Ehlen took third with a jump of 3.76m (12-4). This clearance moved Ehlen up to No. 18 in national rankings in NCAA DIII. 

In men's high jump, Noah Steiner took second place clearing 2.07m (6-9.5). Steiner is currently ranked tied for third in national standings. 

In an extremely competitive heat of the 1500m, senior Zach Lee dominated the field and set a school record. Lee ran 3:44.25 to break the record by over three seconds, set by Ryan Kleimenhagen in 2003. Lee now leads the nation with the fastest 1500m time. Senior Nolan Wallenkamp ran 3:59.80 to take seventh place at the Eagle Open. Wallenkamp ranks nationally at No. 26 currently with a time of 3:53.61 he ran at the Ashton May Invitational earlier this season. 

In the 110m hurdles, Charlie Gifford almost saw a personal best time. Off his personal best time by just 0.01 seconds, Gifford ran 14.44 to win the event. Gifford ranks No. 11 nationally with the time of 14.43 he ran at Drake Relays. 

Matt Hokanson and Katie Schilling competed in the 400m hurdles at NCC Dr. Keeler Track and Field Meet. Hokanson dramatically improved his time by clocking 53.32 seconds, a season best time for the junior. Hokanson is now ranked No. 11 in NCAA DIII. Schilling ran 1:03.56 taking third at the meet. Schilling is ranked at No. 20 currently with a time ran at the WIAC Championships, 1:02.66. 

Also competing at North Central College, Johanna Meister ran an impressive personal best time of 2:13.26 in the 800m. Meister, who became women's 800m champion at the WIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships last weekend, is now ranked at No. 15 nationally. 

The Pioneers will attend one more week of last chance meets to put the final touches on the national championship-bound team. The NCAA DIII National Outdoor Track and Field Championships are hosted at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio on May 23 - 25.