The NCAA crowned two new CNU All-Americans at Capital University in Columbus, OH. Richard Roethel was the first on the podium for the Captains after placing third in the Pentathlon. Dira Hansen earned her first All-America trophy with her seventh place finish in the 800m. That brings the Captains’ all-time total to 483 All-Americans.
Roethel, Hansen Earn All-America Status
Jacobs, Winkler Finish 10th & 11th, Respectively
Capital University near Columbus, Ohio played host for the 2011 Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships and the athletes put on a great show. Four CNU student-athletes represented the Captains in five events with Brittany Jacobs (Warrenton, VA) and Dira Hansen (Culpeper, VA) first to get underway.
Jacobs just missed a Nationals selection last spring in the Long Jump and entered her senior year determined to make the cut both indoors and outdoors. Over the final weeks of the season, she kept inching up her PR to finally guarantee her place with a 5.61m/18-5 jump -- virtually matching her outdoor best which is over two and a half feet farther than her longest jump in high school. Seeded in to the second flight she opened with a 5.17m effort – though it was initially measured at 5.32m before the officials discovered a calibration error in the measuring system. After a minor adjustment, her second attempt landed at 5.34m but from well behind the board. Needing only a few centimeters to secure a spot in finals, a stronger push at the start of her approach was the only adjustment necessary and she did just that. A slight hesitation, however, midway through her approach left her take-off at the same place as the previous jump and she landed another 5.34m/17-6.25 – just 2cm away from earning three more attempts. Jacobs walked away disappointed, but just as last year’s jumps assured her she would be at Nationals this year, she left these Championships confident that she can be on the podium in May.
The story of Dira Hansen’s “accidental qualifier” in the Pentathlon amazed coaches, athletes, and spectators alike. Her primary focus all season had been on the 800m with the jumps being a fun recovery activity. At Nationals, the same theory was applied – the Pentathlon would serve as a fun distraction in the morning, but the main goal was to make finals in the 800m Friday evening. In just her second 55m Hurdle race of the year, Hansen shaved her PR down to 9.05 and was definitely in “fun mode”. A 1.52m/4-11.75 clearance in the High Jump was 6cm below what she jumped in her qualifier, but still left her in the hunt. She had a big breakthrough in the Shot Put in the qualifier, too, but couldn’t match the effort at Nationals (6.97m/22-10.5) and after a sub-par Long Jump (4.88m/16-0.25), she withdrew from the final event – the 800m – to focus on the open 800m preliminaries a few hours later.
Hansen drew the outermost lane in the first section of the 800m preliminaries Friday evening and slid in to perfect position heading in to the third lap – riding the outside shoulder of the leader. The front of the field made a move around the second turn leaving Hansen in fourth position with a lap to go. She held off her final challenger to stay in that slot with a 2:14.50 which held up as the 7th qualifier in to finals.
Matthew Winkler (Palmyra, VA) also found himself in the first heat of his 800m preliminaries and found his competitors to be a little lackadaisical in their early efforts. He pulled the field through a 57.0 first 400m and most of the third lap before they jumped him heading in to lap number four. Winkler could not quite cover the move and closed out a 1:55.03 finish that held up for 11th to wrap up his first Nationals experience.
Saturday morning featured the men’s Pentathlon competition and sophomore Richard Roethel (Farmingville, NY) got off to a quick start with a PR 7.94 run over the 55m Hurdles. That was the fourth fastest time and left him just 14 points out of the early lead. The leader after the first event – junior Ethan Miller of Central College – claimed the runner-up finish in the open Long Jump and showed it with a big effort in event number two of the Pentathlon. The junior out-jumped the field by over a foot and gained another 116 points on Roethel in spite of the sophomore’s Pentathlon-best 6.66m/21-10.25 effort. Roethel moved back up from 5th to 3rd in the standings after a solid 12.20m/40-0.5 toss in the Shot Put – now just 69 points behind Miller, but 92 behind Miller’s teammate Kurtis Brondyke who took the lead with the field’s best throw (13.00m/42-8).
Miller had won the open High Jump on Friday, but was about 5” shy of that performance on Saturday. He and Brondyke both went out at 2.03m and Roethel’s clearance there (6-8) gave him a chance to make a challenge for the top of the podium. 2.06m/6-9, however, was just out of reach and he prepared for the final event – the 1,000m – needing to gain 42 points to climb in to second and 65 (about a 6.5 second margin) for the championship. While he did hold of the pair from Central College, they both stayed within three seconds of Roethel’s 2:51.30 and left Roethel in bronze position for his second career All-America trophy and a new School Record 3784 point total.
Four hours after Roethel’s ceremony, Dira Hansen lined up for the finals of the 800m to see what color trophy she could earn. Once again drawing an outside lane, she found herself on the leader’s shoulder after one lap – a scorching 30.5. The whole field was in close and came through the half-way mark at around 63 seconds. The leaders took the bell a lap later with 1:36.8 showing on the clock and Hansen – still a newcomer to high level 800m racing – was hanging on with three others a little over a second behind. She battled through the final lap and held on to a 7th Place 2:14.95 to secure her first All-America honor and bring CNU’s total to 483 in school history.
With the 2011 indoor season in the books, the Captains posted a total of 5 School Records, 29 new All-Time Performances, and 177 Personal Records (38% of PR opportunities during the season). The Captains are heading straight in to the outdoor campaign with an early meet at William & Mary.
For complete CNU Results, check out the Results Page.