The 2011 season peaked in Columbus, OH with the NCAA Div. III National Championships. The Captains sent four athletes and returned with two All-America trophies and one for the South/Southeast Region Field Athlete of the Year.
Roethel And Hansen All-Americans Again
Roethel Adds Second S/SE Region Field Athlete of the Year Award
On Wednesday evening, the day before competition started for the 2011 NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, athletes, coaches, officials, and volunteers gathered for a banquet and awards presentations. Among those recognized for their achievements leading up to the Championships was Richard Roethel (Farmingville, NY). The South/Southeast Region coaches voted the sophomore as their Field Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row. On Thursday, Roethel showed why he was selected.
Stormy weather caused a few adjustments during Day 1 of the Decathlon, including reversing the direction of the 100m. That changed a difficult headwind in to a helpful (and still legal) tailwind which Roethel rode to a PR 11.03. That won his section and stayed within 18 points of the favorite – Ethan Miller from Central College. Miller was the Indoor National Runner-Up in the Long Jump and after two wind-induced fouls, landed a field-leading 7.16m/23-6 jump in still air. Roethel nearly matched his best distance of the season on his first jump (6.84m) before recording a Decathlon PR 7.06m/23-2 on his final attempt. Once again, he had the second best mark in the field behind Miller and kept the deficit to a minimum.
Rain and thunder disrupted the end of the Shot Put competition and Roethel hit his first rough patch as he only managed an 11.58m/38-0 throw. Miller, too, had trouble with the 16lb ball and gave up 45 points to Roethel – enough to relinquish his lead heading in to the High Jump. Everyone had difficulties early with the wet apron, but as the bar continued to rise, Miller and Roethel separated themselves from the field once again. On third attempt clearances, Roethel was able to match Miller’s best clearance (2.02m) and then get one more to extend his lead (2.05m/6-8.75). Miller pulled a few points back in the 400m, but Roethel ran another Decathlon Best 50.84 to close Day 1 with 3889 points – 136 ahead of his School Record pace.
The women’s Long Jump coincided with the same storm that delayed the Decathlon and when competition did commence, Brittany Jacobs (Warrenton, VA) and the rest of the field found swirling winds waiting for them behind the stadium. Jacobs’ first jump (5.33m/17-6) was in to a 1.5m/s headwind. When the winds disappeared for her next to jumps, however, she could not stretch the tape any farther and wound up in 15th place with her first attempt effort.
Dira Hansen (Culpeper, VA) also ran on the first day of competition. The 400m Hurdles trials were late enough in the day that the weather conditions had become favorable again. Needing only a minor adjustment at the first hurdle, the junior came up to the remaining nine hurdles in stride and posted a PR 61.70 and improved her #4 Ranking in CNU History. More importantly, though she was only 4th in her section, she claimed the last qualifying slot to Saturday’s final.
On Friday, the Decathletes returned to work with the 110m Hurdles. Roethel posted another Decathlon PR with a 15.33, but walked away from the event a little frustrated that he did not match his recent open best (15.13) – especially after watching Miller post a field-leading 14.93 to take back 48 points and the lead. After a sub-par 30.57m/100-3 first attempt in the Discus, the sophomore seemed to get back on track with a second round throw that appeared to land well past the 120’ arc. The mark was not measured, though, as his foot had brushed the top of the ring at the front edge. The emotional roller coaster was a bit too much in an event he is still just learning and he fell out of the side of the ring on his third and final attempt. While the result dropped him to 3rd place over all, the throw was still better than his mark at Nationals last year when he set his School Record.
The Pole Vault proved dramatic for all of the top contenders as each went to third attempts on opening heights. Roethel did not look particularly good on either of his first attempts, but managed to force himself over the bar on his final attempt. At the next height, a Decathlon PR 4.10m/13-5.25, he made it look easy and one of the opposing coaches exclaimed “he’s got it, now!” Unfortunately, the jumps at the next height looked like his attempts at the first height, but without the dramatic 3rd attempt clearance. Roethel was still in third place and still pushing ahead of his record pace with two events to go.
The Javelin is an event that does not reward tension and does not like to be forced. Roethel took aim at regaining momentum against the field and setting up a chance to upset Miller and his teammate Kurtis Brondyke in the 1500m, but could not get the spear to fly for him. His best effort of 46.65m/153-1 kept him in third place, but he was behind record pace for the first time and another senior – Washington University’s Ben Harmon – was on his heels. Harmon had strong 1500m credentials (for a Decathlete) and Roethel was emotionally drained from the day. The sophomore conceded his position and dropped to 4th in the 1500m (4:57.22), but stood tall on the awards stand to receive his third All-America trophy in the Combined Events, scoring an outstanding total of 6935 points.
Senior Matthew Winkler (Palmyra, VA) finally got his chance to compete late on Friday evening in the 800m. Winkler drew section two alongside two of the event favorites who also had the best 400m speed in the field. The result was a relatively slow first lap (54.88 for Winkler) and a drag race over the final lap that only two survived. Winkler held on for a 57.44 second lap and his 1:52.32 was his second fastest 800m time ever and 17th place over all.
That left one more race for the Captains on Saturday where Dira Hansen was assigned lane 1 for the 400m Hurdles final. The tight turn caused more difficulty with the first hurdle and left her slightly off balance for the next two. She regained form down the back straight and started to move on the field, but the extra energy expenditure came due over the last 200m. The junior finished 8th in 63.14 and claimed her second All-America honor to go with her Indoor 800m trophy.
Roethel and Hansen brought CNU’s all-time All-Americas total to a remarkable 485.For complete CNU Results, check out the Results Page.